Today, 1 April, researchers at the Napa Valley Research Institute announced the discovery of a new two-dimensional material—grapene—that could one-day rival silicon in computers, steel in cars, and chocolate in candybars. (Yes. We know. That’s what they all say.) The new substance exists in flat sheets, connected by strong bonds composed of cellulose and lignin. In bulk form, its natural state, it’s found hanging in chaotically-arranged bunches.
“I’ve been really impressed by what I’ve seen in our tests so far,” said Allen Vindemiator, who led the team at Institute that isolated the new material. He and his colleagues have been experimenting with two variants: red and white grapene, which show subtle differences. They are split at the moment on which one seems more promising.
Grapene was nearly discovered weeks ago, but a watchful editor caught the spelling error.Screenshot: Samuel K. Moore
Now that grapene has been discovered, Vindemiator anticipates there will be a rush of interest in understanding its basic properties and potential applications. Of particular interest is grapene’s ability to ferment. “It has great potential as an electronic material,” he said between hiccups, “or at least, it won’t make you care whether or not that spreadsheet from Bob in accounting takes 10 or 20 seconds to load. I mean, it's all good right? We're all friends here. In fact, I love you man.”
The team has already seen hints of new form of grapene. “We accidentally left a bunch out in the sun all weekend and came back to find it all shriveled and brown,” said a lab tech who decline to be identified because, well, he left the lab samples out in the sun all weekend. This new form “raisene” is less conductive, and some kids find it icky. But it could make certain unpalatable foodstuffs, such as fruitcake and bran cereal, more tolerable.