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Math Science

Physicists Say Graphene Could Create Mass 184

eldavojohn writes "Graphene has gotten a lot of press lately. The Nobel prize-winning, fastest-spinning, nanobubble-enhanced silicon replacement is theorized to have a new, more outlandish property. As reported by Technology Review's Physics Blog, graphene should be able to create mass inside properly formed nanotubes. According to Abdulaziz Alhaidari's calculations, if one were to roll up graphene into a nanotube, this could compactifiy dimensions (from the sheet's two down to the tube's one), and thus 'the massless equations that describe the behavior of electrons and holes will change to include a term for mass. In effect, compactifying dimensions creates mass.' What once would require a massive high-energy particle accelerator can now be tested with carbon, electricity, and wires, according to the recent paper."
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Physicists Say Graphene Could Create Mass

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 22, 2010 @12:57PM (#33986958)

    Well now... That changes everyhing! (if true).

  • by Xelios ( 822510 ) on Friday October 22, 2010 @01:26PM (#33987416)
    If you RTFA they clarify that the tube is 1 dimensional as far as the electrons and holes are concerned, probably because instead of being able to move across the sheet of graphene in both the x and y directions they're now constrained to move only in one direction, up and down the nanotube. If there's only one possible axis of movement, then you're effectively in a 1 dimensional system.
  • by Taibhsear ( 1286214 ) on Friday October 22, 2010 @01:32PM (#33987520)

    We have that already. They're called baristas.

  • by zooblethorpe ( 686757 ) on Friday October 22, 2010 @02:06PM (#33988020)

    The bogon [hacker-dictionary.com].

    Seriously, can't anyone at Tech Review spot the flaw here? A tube still has more than one dimension. Even if you managed to create a chain of single carbon atoms, you'd still have multiple dimensions, in that the atoms comprising the chain are not infinitely short and infinitely flat.

    Bah. Sensationalist nonsense non-news.

  • by zooblethorpe ( 686757 ) on Friday October 22, 2010 @02:34PM (#33988460)

    Cheers, thanks. The main issue is that the blog really made a hash of the explanation with sensationalist claptrap:

    amazing properties of graphene now include the ability to create mass

    ... which is utter hokum. Further down the page, there are a couple breakdowns of the paper itself, which make it clear that what they're doing is what you say -- constraining the physics of a potential experiment to simplify the mathematics involved.


  • by blair1q ( 305137 ) on Friday October 22, 2010 @03:00PM (#33988842) Journal

    People (i.e., mostly you) seem to blame kdawson, but really, he's just clicking the button when the post bubbles to the top of the Firehose, which happens because the Firehose is an idiocracy. People voting there are mostly ignorant, so anything that is above their understanding gets a positive nod, because most things that reach the front page are above their understanding, so they think that's the criterion.

    Sometimes, not voting is better for you than voting is. Like, when you're too uninformed or misinformed to make a correct decision.

  • by blair1q ( 305137 ) on Friday October 22, 2010 @03:08PM (#33988956) Journal

    Normally the equations governing movement of electrons are independent of mass.

    That's only because the mass of the electron (1/1900th the mass of a neutron or proton) is usually negligible in the dynamics you're calculating.

    In superconductors, the equations really do eliminate the force of mass*acceleration from consideration, along with any other forces the electrons would normally be expected to react to (that would contribute to transfer of energy that would make the nuclei vibrate randomly in place; i.e., resistance heating).

    Apparently all that's happening here is that he's predicting nanotubes not to have all of the properties that flat graphene sheets have. And he's saying it in a way that confuses most people, including many of those who could probably have derived it and described it in a much less confusing way.

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