It turns out that the whole trick to producing graphene is Scotch-Tape. If you take a piece of tape and you lightly touch it to graphite (pencil lead) you frequently will pull off just a single layer of carbon. Pretty cool. (This trick for pulling off thin layers with tape has been known for many years to chemists and material scientists).
Back in this post when I was taking bets for last year's Nobel prize, I made the following statement suggesting that it was not actually deserving of the prize:
Reuters proposes Geim and Novoselov (22%) for the discovery of graphene (carbon sheets) and Ijima (14%) narrowly behind for the discovery of nanotubes (carbon sheets rolled up into a tube). Not that I am opposed to carbon but…
I will remind everyone that Buckyballs, yet another form of Carbon, already won the Nobel prize recently – but in chemistry, not physics. I will also remind everyone that not every molecule made of carbon deserves an immediate Nobel prize. I know that the Carbonists have been lobbying hard, and admittedly both nanotubes and graphene are pretty cool. But I don’t think they are so overwhelmingly cool that they need a Nobel prize just yet. And if the lessons of Buckyballs are anything to learn from, we should expect that the hype will far outweigh the actual usefulness of, or interest in, the stuff in the long run.
I'm amused to see that Doug, over at nanoscale views seems to have a similar opinion.
On the flip-side, graphene is pretty cool stuff. If any fraction of the hype turns out to be true in 10 years, then I would certainly support the prize (and simultaneously eat my words). But from the buckeyball experience I would have thought the Nobel committee might have waited a bit longer on this one. It isn't like the winners are old geezers about to croak who have to be given the prize now since they are not going to survive until next year.
So there you have it... the Nobel prize won with Scotch-tape.