Graphene Reveals Fine Structure Constant
Graphene, at just one atom in thickness the world's thinnest material, reveals another amazing property. When light is shown through a large suspended membrane of graphine, most visible light passes right through it.
However, graphene is not clear; about 2.3 percent of visible light is absorbed. Dividing this number by pi gives the exact value of the fine structure constant, which is the fundamental physical constant characterizing the strength of the electromagnetic interaction. It is a dimensionless quantity - just about 1 / 137.
To put it another way, if the fine structure constant was changed just a few percent, and life would be impossible. Nuclear reactions in which carbon is generated from lighter elements in burning stars would be impossible. Without carbon, there would be no life.
(Graphene covers the small holes;
the light passing through is visible to the naked eye)
Apparently, the reason that dividing the percentage of visible light shining through divided by pi gives the fine structure constant is that the electrons in graphene behave as if they have lost their mass. This result has been verified by many researchers after the original creation of graphene by University of Manchester researchers. Read more about the discovery of graphene in an earlier article - Graphene - Nanofabric One Atom Thick.
Professor Andre Geim, of The School of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Manchester, remarks
“We were absolutely flabbergasted when realized that such a fundamental effect could be measured in such a simple way. One can have a glimpse of the very foundations of our universe just looking through graphene.”
Read more about the origins of graphene; see
Graphene gazing gives glimpse of foundations of universe and Refining the fine-structure constant.
Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 4/4/2008)
Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.
| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |
you like to contribute a story tip?
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add
Comment/Join discussion ( 3 )
Related News Stories -
Fungi-Infused Concrete Repairs Itself
'I noticed that curious mottled knots were forming, indicating where the room had been strained and healed faultily.'- J.G. Ballard, 1962.
3D Printed Graphene Aerogel - So Light!
'... light as cork and stronger than steel...' - Edgar Rice Burroughs, 1929.
Vantablack Now IMMEASURABLY Black
'a black coating now that’s ninety-nine percent absorptive...' - Doc Smith, 1934.
New Paper - Write With Light Erase With Heat
Writing with light, erasing with heat.
Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!)
is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for
the Invention Category that interests
you, the Glossary, the Invention
Timeline, or see what's New.
A 'Genuine Nanorobotic Production Factory'
'Microscopic machinery, smaller than ants, smaller than pins, working energetically, purposefully - constructing something...'
Neuromorphic Computer Offers Non-von Neumann Architecture
Fires faster than brain at 1/10K energy.
Evorus Your Crowd-Powered Conversational Assistant
'...the DS [Daily Schedule] was suddenly transformed into a valued confidante.'
Mealworms Food Of The Future
Get your grubs on.
Alibaba's AI May Read Better Than You
'Mike ... could accept other languages and was doing technical translating - and reading endlessly.'
Musk's Boring Flamethrower
'Skeletons in tatters. Burned by a flesh gun'
Humanity Star LEO Advertisement?
'Everyone has noticed those enormous advertisements...'
Nissan ProPILOT Slippers Are Self-Parking, Autonomous
Beyond science and fiction.
Atomristors - Atomic Memristors - Using Thin Nanomaterials
'I could almost feel those little tunnel junction neuristors working, forming their own interconnections as I operated it.'
Bigelow Prepares Inflatable Lunar Hotel
'Suddenly, hitherto unheard-of sums of money became available for investment in civilian orbital stations.'
Drunk Driver Of Tesla Claims Autopilot Was In Charge
'Mr. Garden, you are in no condition to drive.'
Medical Exoskeleton From Cyberdyne Gets FDA Approval
It's been a long road for HAL-5; I started writing about it in 2005.
Fungi-Infused Concrete Repairs Itself
'I noticed that curious mottled knots were forming, indicating where the room had been strained and healed faultily.'
Shiftwear Display Shoes
'He unlaced her shoe and glanced at its readout.'
NASA SEXTANT First With X-Ray Nav In Space
'You need at least four beacons for an accurate fix.'
GM Introduces Cruise AV With No Steering Wheel
'How about the steering wheel?' ... 'I do not need one.'
More SF in the News Stories
More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories