- World's smallest transistor, one atom thick and 10 atoms wide, out of a material that could one day replace silicon. The transistor, essentially an on/off switch, has been made using graphene, a two-dimensional material first discovered only four years ago.
Graphene is a single layer of graphite, which is found in the humble pencil. The transistor is the key building block of microchips and the basis for almost all electronics.
Dr Kostya Novoselov and Professor Andre Geim from The School of Physics and Astronomy at The University of Manchester have been leading research into the potential application of graphene in electronics and were the first to separate a sheet of the material from graphite
Graphene has been hailed as a super material because it has many potential applications. It is a flat molecule, with only the thickness of an atom, and both very stable and robust.
The researchers are also looking at its use in display technology - because it is transparent.
The Manchester-based scientists have shown that graphene can be carved into tiny electronic circuits with individual transistors not much larger than a molecule.
Dr Novoselov told BBC News that graphene had many advantages over silicon because it could...