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Graphene falls flat

Graphene is the subject of intense research thanks to its novel fundamental properties and its potential for possible electronics applications. Though graphene is essentially two-dimensional, a layer of carbon atoms just one atom thick, it is in fact always slightly crumpled. Whether laying on a substrate or suspended, it always presents ripples, which are thought to define a remarkably diverse set of the observed properties of graphene. Now a team from Columbia University has developed a simple, but effective method of producing ultraflat graphene by deposition on an atomically flat mica surface that tightly binds to the carbon atoms. Thus ripple formation is not an essential feature of high-quality graphene. The availability of ultraflat samples will facilitate studies of the effect of ripples on the physical and electronic properties of graphene.

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