Takashi Taniguchi and Kenji Watanabe interview: A graphene revolution

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Takashi Taniguchi and Kenji Watanabe create high-quality crystals that provide the right substrate on which to tailor-make two-dimensional supplies with superb digital properties. They inform New Scientist how they develop their world-renowned crystals



Physics



3 January 2023

New Scientist Default Image

Nabil Nezzar

FOR years, Takashi Taniguchi and Kenji Watanabe had been like most different physicists, labouring away comparatively unknown to the broader world. The pair studied crystals of their lab on the Nationwide Institute for Supplies Science close to Tokyo, Japan.

Then, virtually in a single day, they hit the large time. They’d been rising a cubic crystal type of boron nitride that has the identical three-dimensional construction as diamond. At some point, out of curiosity, they investigated one other sort of boron nitride crystal that generally grew as a by-product of their lab – a flat, two-dimensional kind.

With it, they inadvertently struck gold. That’s as a result of, round this time, one other 2D substance was beginning to make waves. Graphene, fashioned of a sheet of carbon only a single atom thick, was dubbed a “surprise materials” resulting from it being an excellent conductor, stronger than diamond and lighter than paper. An inflow of graphene analysis started, attempting to profit from these items.

The issue was, to review graphene, you want one thing very flat with simply the precise properties on which to mount the wafer skinny sheets. The answer, it turned out, was the very by-product crystals Taniguchi and Watanabe had been investigating.

Their high-purity 2D boron nitride crystals are, by broad consensus, the world’s greatest. As we speak, what was as soon as a waste materials is equipped to everybody within the graphene subject to allow groundbreaking analysis and the 2 scientists are co-authors of greater than 1000 research. They informed New Scientist how they honed their craft, discovered themselves on the centre of a supplies revolution and have become the world’s most in-demand crystal growers.

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