Physics and Astronomy

Physics Seminar Series

Fabricating and Studying the “Wonder Material” of the 21st Century

presented by John J. Clements, C’19

Wednesday, February 6, 7:30 - 8:30pm, Woods Labs 216


Graphene is one of the most fascinating materials ever studied in a laboratory. One carbon atom thick, it is the thinnest possible material at 0.34 nanometers, yet it is 100 times stronger than steel and conducts heat over ten times better than copper. Graphene is a semimetal with an overlap in its valence and conduction bands at the so-called Dirac points, making it a zero-bandgap material with a very high electron mobility. Being one atom thick, the material is almost completely transparent, which would allow for a new generation of touch screens, LEDs and transistors to be made of graphene.

In my research, I am producing and analyzing graphene samples in order to determine their thickness, down to a single layer, which greatly affects the physical properties. Using the Scotch tape method, I created flakes of graphene on silicon substrates and analyzed them with optical microscopy, micro-Raman spectroscopy and atomic force microscopy. I have confirmed the exfoliation of three-layer graphene and compared it to a commercial sample of monolayer graphene. Knowing the graphene thickness is essential as monolayer graphene is transparent enough to be used in phones and transistors. Its uses don’t stop there as it can be applied to the biological and medical fields and has already been shown to work as a way of desalinating water. In this presentation, I will discuss the structure, properties, production and analysis techniques underlying the material of the future, graphene.



JJ Clements, C’19, is a senior at the University of the South from Cumming, GA, majoring in Physics with plans to attend engineering school after graduation. He is a retired student athlete and a member of the Chi Psi fraternity.

For more information: Prof. Eugene Donev (931) 598-3154 |


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