World’s Thinnest Christmas tree is 30,000 Times Thinner than Kitchen Film

By: | December 30th, 2021

Image courtesy: DTU

Graphene is no doubt a wonder material. It’s the world’s thinnest, ultra-lightweight, highly elastic, extremely flexible and yet it’s 200 times stronger than steel. Graphene takes the form of a one-atom-thick sheet of carbon atoms, linked collectively in a honeycomb sample. It is the most impermeable material ever discovered and is also a very good conductor of both heat and electricity.

Now, scientists have developed the world’s thinnest Christmas tree measuring just one atom thick from graphene. Developed by scientists at the Technical University of Denmark (DTU), it is 5.5 inches (14cm) long. However, it is just a third of a nanometre (one billionth of a meter) thick.

This world’s thinnest Christmas tree is cut out of a 10-meter long (32.8-ft) roll of graphene

It was laminated in one piece using redesigned lamination machine and then scanned with terahertz radiation.

Professor Peter Bøggild, team lead of the Christmas tree experiment, said “But behind the Christmas joke hides an important breakthrough. For the first time, we managed to make an in-line quality control of the graphene layer while we transferred it. Doing this is the key to gaining stable, reproducible and usable material properties, which is the prerequisite for utilising graphene in, e.g. electronic circuits.”

The experiment demonstrated that continuous quality control can be done during the manufacture of graphene, which could help ramp up its use in future high-speed electronics, medical instruments, and sensors.

Professor Peter said, “Even if you could make a pencil drawing of a Christmas tree and lift it off the paper—which, figuratively, is what we have done—it would be much thicker than one atom. A bacterium is, e.g. 3000 times thicker than the graphene layer we used. That’s why I dare call this the world’s thinnest Christmas tree. And although the starting point is carbon, just like the graphite in a pencil, graphene is at the same time even more conductive than copper. The “drawing” is made in one perfect layer in one piece, “

Nidhi Goyal

Nidhi is a gold medalist Post Graduate in Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences.

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