Professor Andre Geim, the ‘renaissance scientist’ profiled in the June/July 2006 issue of Scientific Computing World magazine, has been awarded the 2007 Mott Medal and Prize by the Institute of Physics for his groundbreaking work on two-dimensional atomic crystals back in 2004. These crystals included graphene, a substance that could revolutionise computer hardware.
Graphene demonstrates the remarkable property that moving electrons do not scatter over submicron distances, which is very important in making very fast switching resistors.
In the quest to make the computer chip more powerful and faster, engineers are striving to produce smaller transistors, shortening the paths electrons have to travel to switch the devices on and off. Ultimately, scientists envisage transistors made from a single molecule, and Professor Geim’s work has brought that vision ever nearer. It could lead to a computer being carved entirely out of a single sheet of graphene.
'It is certainly nice and somewhat unexpected to be acknowledged at such an early stage,’ said Professor Geim. ‘Although it was found only two years ago, graphene has proved itself as a truly remarkable material, with a wealth of new physics coming out.'