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Nobel-winning super-thin screens will be on phones next year, says scientist

The transparent, super-strong material that won UK scientists the Nobel last month could be on prototype Samsung mobiles by next summer, according to one of the winners.

A Nobel prize-winning physicist says that graphene, the exotic material that won him the top science gong, could end up on touchscreen phones as early as next year.

Last month, the Nobel prize in physics went to Andre Geim and Konstantin Novoselo, of Manchester University, for coming up with graphene, a one-atom-thick transparent sheet of carbon.

Graphene is more conductive than copper and stronger than diamond. In research published in 2004, the boffins used sticky tape to tear off wafer-thin sheets of carbon pencil lead while trying to isolate it.

Geim told the BBC that we could see graphene used for prototype super-slim, strong touchscreens by 2011.

"Samsung tells us that one of the applications... is the use of graphene as a touchscreen on your mobile phone, and this application is coming within a year or two," said Geim on the Today programme.

"I was promised next summer that if I go to South Korea, they will present me with a mobile phone having such a screen."

Gein admits that it's insanely quick for a material to move from the lab to commercial use in a mere six years. It looks as though the characteristics of graphene are just too good to ignore, however.

Geim has since created fluoro-graphene, which adds a sprinkling of fluorine atoms to make a Teflon-like material that's slippery, non-reactive and stable at high temperatures -- just like CNET UK after its Friday pub lunch.

Image credit: Nature