SEM-images of 3-D graphene with different pore size (a,b,c, scale = 1μm). Optical properties (d,e,f) change with pore size. Credit: Nature Communications: 10.1038/ncomms14885
Carbon is a very versatile element. It not only forms diamonds, graphite, and coal, but can also take a planar form as a hexagonal matrix - graphene. This material, consisting of only a single atomic layer, possesses many extreme properties. It is highly conductive, optically transparent, and is mechanically flexible as well as able to withstand loads. André Geim and Konstantin Novoselov received the 2010 Nobel Prize in Physics for the discovery of this exotic form of carbon. And just recently, a Japanese team has been successful in stacking two-dimensional graphene layers in a three-dimensional architecture with nanometre-sized pores.