Perhaps you’ve heard of graphene, a form of carbon that could bring us bulletproof armor and space elevators, improve medicine, and make the internet run faster — some day. For the past 15 years, consumers have been hearing about this wonder material and all the ways it could change everything.
But 15 years is a long time, so it’s time to understand what’s really going on behind the breathless headlines. The Verge spoke to Joseph Meany, an analytical chemist who explains the science of the material, and Phillip Ball, a science writer who is skeptical of all the hype. We visited a lab that is starting to manufacture with graphene, and got some of our own to play with. So, what’s so special about graphene? What’s happening with the graphene revolution? Is it really almost here, or is it another promise that is perpetually just one more breakthrough away?