Multitalented graphene is wowing scientists the world over. Lisa Clausen reports on those at the forefront of game-changing Australian research.
Three clear bottles stand like trophies on an otherwise empty shelf in Professor Dan Li's office at Melbourne's Monash University. Two are filled with powder the colour of midnight, while the third contains a lump of silver-grey rock. They're all forms of graphite, a type of coal we all rely on somehow, whether it's in brake lining, batteries or pencils. But that's not why Li has the bottles displayed behind his desk. Among scientists like Li, graphite is now celebrated as the source of graphene, the phenomenal new material researchers, governments and corporations the world over are betting could transform a multitude of industries, from electronics to renewable energy.