Graphene, a one-atom-thick sheet of carbon, slows down an object sliding across its surface. New software from the National Institute of Standards and Technologies (NIST) simulates the tip of an atomic force microscope moving across a stack of graphene sheets. Research using this software indicates that graphene's friction is reduced as more layers are added to the stack.

With the capacity to be folded, rolled or stacked, graphene has many electronic and optical properties. The material may be used in applications ranging from electronic circuits to solar cells to"greasing" moving parts in nanoscale devices.


Also: Learn about self-cooling observed in graphene electronics.