Carbon is one of the most intriguing elements in the Periodic Table. It forms many allotropes, some known from ancient times (diamond and graphite) and some discovered 10-20 years ago (fullerenes and nanotubes). Interestingly, the two-dimensional form (graphene) was only obtained very recently, immediately attracting a great deal of attention. Electrons in graphene, obeying a linear dispersion relation, behave like massless relativistic particles. This results in the observation of a number of very peculiar electronic properties – from an anomalous quantum Hall effect to the absence of localization – in this, the first two-dimensional material. It also provides a bridge between condensed matter physics and quantum electrodynamics, and opens new perspectives for carbon-based electronics.

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DOI: 10.1016/S1369-7021(06)71788-6