I've seen that picture before-
In the Andromeda Strain.
We are all going to die!
Physicists have observed a new behaviour in graphene sheets that causes them to spontaneously grow, tear and peel like self-folding origami. Carbon is a versatile element and can form many types of bonds with different elements – including itself. Diamond, bucky-balls and graphene are all allotropes of carbon – they are all …
Under the microscope, graphene looks like chicken wire.
That's a mighty powerful microscope you have there!
What is that? 180 million times* magnification? Rather better than any electron microscope, or even a field ion or field emission device.
* Based on 0.142nm bond length in Graphene, and about an inch of wire forming the edge of each "hole" in the chicken wire; and assuming that the Graphene is under the microscope and the chcicken wire is not.
Yeah, I'm kinda sad that a source as reputable as El Reg would claim that graphene looks like chicken wire under a microscope -- especially as only a few paragraphs further down, we do actually get a microscope picture of the stuff and it absolutely does not look like chicken wire.
The bond diagram of the atomic structure may resemble chicken wire. But under a microscope, not so much.
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"As it applies equally to a collision between two photons"
I'm not sure it actually does - this might seem like heresy - thermodynamics does deal with bulk properties - averaged over a reasonable number of pairs of photons it will surely be true but just 1 pair? I'm desperately trying to remember my statistical thermodynamics lectures from nearly fifty years ago* (which I had a lot of trouble with then). In a gas at a fixed temperature there will be a distribution of particle velocities. The gas will have a 'temperature' but any atom/molecule will have it's own (and changing) velocity.
*I would welcome views
"The gas will have a 'temperature' but any atom/molecule will have it's own (and changing) velocity"
I'm pretty sure that is the gist of it, if I remember correctly one could talk about a temperature for a large molecule, in effect relating the sum of all it's vibrational modes to the equilibrium state of the ambient environment, although I have no clue where or if that comes in handy anywhere. This stuff was 20 years ago for me, and the only thing fresh in my mind is the traumatizing brain tangles and PTLSD (post thermodynamic lectures stress disorder).
If you perform a statistical analysis of the behaviour of a large collection of quantum particles, then you end up the laws of thermodynamics, which at first glance would imply that it's not very fundamental.
However, the Second Law of Thermodynamics is about a fundamental as it gets and you can't really reduce entropy to anything else..
Personally I rather like Penrose, if only because I find his language 'translates' well to my comprehension. I can still find bits of his stuff that I find less .... "credible" .... if you will, but his tendency to throw thermodynamics out at the subatomic equation level seems to make sense ..... in the context of examining individual events. What with LHC *testing* a crapton of events at a time, and making so MANY more events to analyse, thermodynamics comes back into focus.
Still, considering my uncle is a Penrose student, my take on physics is somewhat biased.
The entire graphene sheet is one molecule (otherwise it would not be graphene)... so I guess the article answers your question about what happens.
Perhapse you meant what happens if just one atom is disturbed in the sheet. Thats a more interesting question and the answer has direct impact on nanotechnology engineering practices.
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