Scientists in Japan have figured out a way to make the wonder material “Graphene” superconductive - which means electricity can easily flow through it with almost no resistance at all. This new property adds to graphene's already remarkable list of qualities, for example, it's stronger than steel, harder than diamond, and extremely flexible. But superconductivity is a quite a big deal, even for material like graphene, because when electricity can flow with no resistance at all, it can automatically lead to considerably more efficient electronic devices, not to mention power lines. At the moment, energy corporations are losing about 7 percent of their energy in the form of heat as a result of resistance in the grid.
But making power lines out of graphene is not possible at the moment because the demonstration of superconductivity in graphene was carried out at a super cold -269 degrees Celsius. What is exciting, is that this study proposes that graphene could be used to construct nano-sized, high-speed electronic devices. So, just think about all the electricity we could save with computers that depend on on minute graphene circuity, capable of zooming electrons around without dissipating energy as heat. The research has been available in ACS Nano.
Now a group of reasearchers from Tohoku University and the University of Tokyo have succeeded to achieve superconductivity by constructing two graphene sheets and introducing calcium atoms between them – kind of like a calcium sandwich, with graphene acting as the bread.
These two graphene sheets were developed on a silicon carbide crystal and the scientist were able to demonstrate that when the temperature gets to around 4 Kelvin, or -269 degrees Celsius, the electrical conductivity of the material quickly drops - a perfect sign of superconductivity.
Tohoku University explains "This is significant because electrons with no mass flowing with no resistance in graphene could lead to the realisation of an ultimately high-speed nano electronic device,"
For folks who aren't already acquainted with graphene, the material is a one-atom-thick coating of graphite (the stuff which is used in your pencils), which is made up of carbon atoms organized in a hexagonal honeycomb patterns. You can learn more about graphene here.