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What's harder than diamond?

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Anne Diamond | 15:27 UK time, Tuesday, 15 January 2013

a graphical representation of graphene

...just a single molecule thick and conducts electricity?

It's graphene, one of the thinnest, lightest, strongest and most conductive materials known to man and the wonder material that was 'isolated' by two scientists at Manchester University, and for which they won the Nobel Physics prize in 2010.

Yet most of the patents for its use already lie with other countries, notably China and Japan. It means we're not putting UK money where our mouth is, according to Professor Averil MacDonald, of the University of Reading.

And Apprentice winner Tom Pellerau, who's busy marketing his S-shaped nail files and super-duper nail clippers, says it is still easier to protect your intellectual property if, for instance you're a musician, than if you're a scientist or inventor.

Write a song and you are, at no cost, the owner of its rights, which are protected for up to seventy years. But invent something and it costs thousands of pounds and up to two years to take out a patent, which will protect your rights for only a very limited time, and that's if you're lucky.


  • Comment number 1.

    I think this will change everything in the near future! Once the tech giants get it into their manufacturing process. It would make all phone/tablets/computers amazingly thin and strong and would weigh next to nothing! Cannot wait for this to take off! I wonder if this material can someone be using with 3D printers in the home?


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