back to article Move over, graphene. There's a new super-material in town: Graphullerene

Graphene, that much-hyped super-material yet to transform industry, has competition on the block in the form of a related 3D carbon structure made up of linked balls. The new material, dubbed graphullerene, could have potential applications in new kinds of optical and electronic devices owing to its ability to confine and …

  1. Roj Blake Silver badge

    As someone who studied under buckminsterfullerene discoverer Harry Kroto in the early 90s, this is amazing stuff.

    A pint to all those involved!

    1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

      Does this mean that buckminsterfullerene has lost its buckminster?

      I guess it would make sense, as it's quite a long word to be pronouncing, and we're not German...

      1. Roj Blake Silver badge

        Fullerenes are a class of molecule, of which buckminsterfullerene (C60) was the first to be discovered. Others include C20, C70, and C540.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      I kinda hate the way science journalists stopped fact checking the claims of being the first("*") about everything. Fullerenes aren't a new class of materials and changing an F to a P make them so. Not the research was bad, or that the author was even necessarily making those claims. But unless I'm missing something sheet fullerenes are already about a decade old(making them, the theoretical structures were mapped out ages ago).

      So this announcement would really be more like "novel new carbon structure built is made of sheets of linked polygonal structures" which doesn't sound as click baity, but why are we still letting universities juice up their press release like this?

      Seems like for the last couple years you can't have an research announced without some obviously BS claim tacked onto it, many of which won't stand up to a basic Google search. Sometimes the same lab will claim the same first multiple times(lookin at you National Ignition Lab), hiding the truth that they keep changing the definition under a layer of fluff to distract the bobble-heads in the press. This isn't as sinister as p-hacking, but it still something we should be calling out, and if necessary sternly mocking people for.

      Otherwise every day becomes a new temperature record(Coldest second tuesday in a month with less that 31 days since WW2 in Sheboygan, WI on a day that didn't snow!) and those that stand on the backs of other researchers don't give them a passing mention.

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: Right

        Hey, at least they didn't tell us all about how it would benefit the environment and/or green energy production :-)

        1. stiine Silver badge

          Re: Right

          Dude, its pure Carbon and even if it did both, in spades, they'd never admit it.

          1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

            Re: Right

            Try not to confuse Carbon with Carbon Dioxide. We get enough that "shorthand" in the main stream press :-)

        2. StargateSg7

          Re: Right

          With Carbon70 or Carbon-540, you could trap nano-tubes in them and use them as a VIBRATION-BASED electrical power storage mechanism OR as an informational data storage mechanism where boron-nitride-based nanotubes or simple boron nanotubes (don't use Carbon nanotubes!) could hold a specific amplitude and/or frequency of mechanical vibratory state while TRAPPED WITHIN the 3D-XYZ Carbon-70 or Carbon-540 structure which could then be set to form a readable multi-bit data storage value at an areal density of Petabytes per Cubic CM ....OR..... be set to form a nanotube vibrations-based micro-battery of as much as a few tens of volts and tens of amps in a mere one cubic cm of volume.

          The buckminster-fullerene-like structure TRAPS the nanotubes AND forms part of the electrical conduit structure to allow electrical current to flow to and from the trapped non-carbon-based nanotubes to form a nano-vibrations-based mechanical battery or becomes a vibrations-based databit storage mechanism.

          There is ALSO the possibility a surface-effect static charge could be set on the trapped nanotube walls themselves that WOULD NOT NEED any mechanical vibration state of the trapped nanotube in order to act as the electrical power storage mechanism or as the databit storage mechanism! The amount of long-term static surface charge becomes the battery storage mechanism OR becomes a multi-bit data value all by itself!

          Based upon the size of Carbon-70 and Carbon-540 structures we could increase battery power density by 100x and more over 2023-era Lithium-Ion batteries AND increase non-volatile computer memory storage by over a 1000x over today's densities!

          It means we could store Tens to Hundreds of Watt/Hours or many Petabytes in the size of three sugar cubes!

          NOW THAT is something to write home about!


    3. Gordon 10

      I also studied under Harry K in the 90’s. No one had a bloody clue what he was warbling about. He was on another plane.

  2. Arthur the cat Silver badge

    I wonder why …

    … they didn't call it "graphucky balls"?

    1. richdin

      Re: I wonder why …


  3. Plest Silver badge

    Hate to ask...

    Could someone come up with and easier to pronounce name for this miracle material? That's a bit of a tongue twister!

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    That must be a swine to properly visualise

    I think between light's wavelength and a camera's CCD scanning you could end up with the mother of all Moiré effects.

    That said, using that could be a good way to measure things at that scale.

    In any case, impressive progress. Now let's see what can be done with it at a practical level, could get interesting.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: That must be a swine to properly visualise

      Scanning electron microscope time?

  5. Bongwater


    Can one of you make me a hockey stick from this? Please?

  6. sarusa Silver badge


    SMBC had a comic this week this immediately made me think of:

  7. M.V. Lipvig Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Graphene is actually

    past the point of just research and is moving into production. An Aussie company called GMG is building a factory to make aluminum graphene batteries, including EV style pouch batteries. The plant is expected to start production in 2024. Looking forward to it because the tech promises to give us 3 times the energy density of lithium with none of the toxicity or fire risk. Their batteries can handle 100 percent to 0 percent use while lithium can only be run from 20 percent to 80 percent without damage. And, they are supposed to be able to accept a 0 to 100 percent charge in 10 minutes. So, 1.5 megawatts in 10 minutes for a thousand miles of range as opposed to 500 kilowatts in 30-40 minutes for 300 miles theoretical/220 miles actual range. And to top it off, less than 1 percent capacity loss over 7000 recharge cycles. Neat stuff. I figure in 5 years all EVs will be using these batteries.

    1. Bela Lubkin

      Re: Graphene is actually

      That's quite a laundry list of properties! Sounds like someone read all the 'new battery tech coming' articles for a couple of decades and wrapped them all up into one huge overhyped promise...

    2. stiine Silver badge

      Re: Graphene is actually

      Hmmm. I think Grady, on Youtube as Practical Engineering, profiled that company...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Graphene is actually

        Was it not Matt Ferrell of Undecided?

        Both are worth watching, though :)

    3. Filippo Silver badge

      Re: Graphene is actually

      I hope that's all true, but I'll believe it when I see it. As an aside, pushing over a megawatt in a car safely sounds like it could be an interesting problem.

      1. Roger Greenwood

        Re: Graphene is actually

        "pushing over a megawatt"

        Yes, good point. To push 1000KW at normal UK LV supply voltage (400V) would be around 1400A, 3 phase. That is some plug-in connector.... (around 3 x cables per phase). 11KV to your car anyone?

        1. Arisia

          Re: Graphene is actually

          480kW is already possible for EV's albeit I believe it's an 800V architecture (600A).

    4. NB12345

      Re: Graphene is actually

      A company in England, FTW, made a number of graphene based batteries, even built a prototype EV for their prototype graphene blade battery rack. Design was for a demo to sell to the UK military.

      A subsidiary of Sony bought them up and haven't heard anything since.

  8. Paul Johnston

    A little accuracy would be nice

    >>The first, graphene, is the well-known two-dimensional lattice of carbon atoms which provoked such enthusiasm and speculation following its discovery at the UK's University of Manchester in 2004

    Since UoM only came into existence in 2004 it's amazing how it's discovery has been attributed to that organisation

    To quote the wikipedia page

    >> In 2001 he became a professor of physics at the University of Manchester, wow time travel too.

    Almost like someone is trying to airbrush UMIST out of history

    1. Korev Silver badge

      Re: A little accuracy would be nice

      UMIST it then....

    2. notyetanotherid

      Re: A little accuracy would be nice

      Eh? Where is the time travel and how is UMIST being airbrushed out of history?

      Prior to the merger on 1 October 2004 of the Victoria University of Manchester and UMIST to become just the University of Manchester, nobody outside of officialdom really used the "Victoria" bit of the name of the former university. Take a look at any of Geim's or Novoselov's papers from before the merger, e.g. Sub-atomic movements of a domain wall in the Peierls potential, from December 2003 where they describe themselves as from "Department of Physics, University of Manchester, M13 9PL, Manchester, UK"

  9. Stuart Halliday

    And this new substance can be woven into statically charged white cloth...

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