Graphene is an allotrope of carbon consisting of a single layer of atoms arranged in a hexagonal lattice nanostructure. The creation of graphene, a wonder material that promises to transform the future, is already the stuff of scientific legend. As a piece of brilliant serendipity it stands alongside the accidental discovery of penicillin by Alexander Fleming – and it might prove just as valuable.
Graphene was discovered in 2004 by the two researchers Professor Andre Geim and Professor Kostya Novoselov at the University of Manchester, UK. Andrei Geim and Kostya Novoselov were playing about with flakes of carbon graphite in an attempt to investigate its electrical properties when they decided to see if they could make thinner flakes with the help of sticky Scotch tape.
They used the tape to peel off a layer of graphite from its block and then repeatedly peeled off further layers from the original cleaved flake until they managed to get down to flakes that were only a few atoms thick. They soon realised that by repeatedly sticking and peeling back the Scotch tape they could get down to the thinnest of all possible layers. Eventually, they were able to isolate a single layer of atoms, which they called graphene.
Geim and Novoselov were surprised by their discovery, and they did not immediately realize the significance of it. However, they quickly realized that graphene had many unique properties, including being the strongest material ever known, being an excellent conductor of heat and electricity, and being transparent.
For their discovery of graphene, Geim and Novoselov were awarded the 2010 Nobel Prize in Physics. Graphene is now being studied for a wide variety of applications, including electronics, composites, and sensors.
According to independent.co.uk & Wikipedia