Ancient graphene formed 3 billion years before humans discovered it | New Scientist

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Graphene, an atom-thick form of carbon, was discovered in 2004 using sticky tape and pencil graphite, but now researchers have found the first ever natural graphene in a gold mine Graphite Sintering Tray

Graphene is a single atom thick Iván Jesús Cruz Civieta/iStockphoto/Getty Images

Graphene is a single atom thick

Ivan Jesus Cross Civieta/iStockphoto/Getty Images

Naturally formed graphene has been discovered for the first time, in 3.2-billion-year old rocks underneath a South African gold mine. The find could lead to more energy-efficient ways to produce the material, which has a number of useful electronic properties.

Graphene, a one-atom-thick sheet of carbon, was first discovered in 2004 by scientists using sticky tape to take layers off pencil graphite, but scaling up its production has proved difficult. Current industrial methods to make large quantities of graphene require temperatures exceeding 1000°C (1800°F). …

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