• Question: How do you make the nanosheets that are a 100,000 smaller than a single strand of hair?

    Asked by aveen0shanahan to Arlene on 12 Nov 2012. This question was also asked by tarrynmcguire.
    • Photo: Arlene O'Neill

      Arlene O'Neill answered on 12 Nov 2012:

      I make these everyday in the lab 🙂 What I use is a graphite crystal which is the material in the centre of a pencil, and I break it into chunks. Then I mix the graphite chunks with a liquid that I know its really likes, next I add some sound energy to the mixture. As the energy travels through my mixture, little bubbles form and collapse causing the graphite chunks to break down into smaller pieces. I add enough energy so that nanometre sized sheets can be peeled away from the starting graphite material. At the end what I hope is left is lots of nanosized sheets floating around in a liquid, and this is how I make nanosheets of graphite which are actually called graphene. 🙂