Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 13 July 2014

UK-based scientists win Nobel Prize

Professors Andre Geim and Konstantin Novoselov were awarded the Nobel Prize for Physics (AP)

Two British-based scientists have won the Nobel Prize for Physics for creating graphine, the world's thinnest material.

Professor Andre Geim and Professor Konstantin Novoselov, from the University of Manchester, made the breakthrough in 2004.

Graphene, which consists of a single layer of carbon atoms arranged in a honeycomb lattice, has been hailed as a "wonder material". It has potential applications in the development of touch-sensitive screens, solar cells, light panels, gas sensors and flexible electronics.

One of graphene's key properties is its strength - it is around 200 times stronger than structural steel. Because of its light weight and strength, it is ideally suited for use in satellites and on aircraft.

Prof Novoselov, 36, first worked with Prof Geim, 51, as a PhD student in Holland and later followed him to the UK. Both men originally studied and began their careers as physicists in Russia.

Together they pioneered techniques for generating single graphene layers and demonstrated the material's unique properties with laboratory experiments.

Nancy Rothwell, president and vice chancellor of the University of Manchester, said: "This is fantastic news. We are delighted that Andre and Konstantin's work on graphene has been recognised at the very highest level by the 2010 Nobel Prize committee. This is a wonderful example of a fundamental discovery based on scientific curiosity with major practical, social and economic benefits to society."

Prof Geim said: "This is a fantastic honour. People have been talking about graphene as a possible prize winner for a number of years so for the community in graphene research it hardly comes as a surprise. However, I personally did not expect to get this prize. I slept soundly last night because I never expected to win it.

"Having won the Nobel Prize, some people sit back and stop doing anything, whereas others work so hard that they go mad in a few years. But I will be going into the office as usual and continuing to work hard and paddle through life as usual. I have lots of research papers to work on at the moment which all need writing up so I will be carrying on as normal."

Prof Novoselov, known as Kostya, said: "I was really shocked when I heard the news and my first thought was to go to the lab and tell the team. I didn't know until this morning when I had a call from Stockholm. We have had a fantastic seven years working together on this new material graphene. The university is well suited to this style of research, we have excellent facilities."

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