By Claire West

EPSRC researcher Professor Andre Geim based at the University of Manchester is one of two scientists to share this year's Nobel Prize for Physics for their "groundbreaking" work on a material with amazing properties.

The Nobel Committee said that Professor Geim and fellow Russian born scientist Konstantin Novoselov have shown that an extremely thin form of carbon just one atom thick had exceptional properties originating in the world of quantum physics.

Geim and Novoselov discovered 'graphene' a tiny sheet of material that is super-strong, highly conductive and practically transparent. The unique properties of the material mean it could have a vast array of practical applications including the development of super-computers capable of probing the greatest theory ever devised.

Professor Geim was awarded an EPSRC (Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council) grant of more £5 million in October 2009 to lead a team to investigate the potential of the material.

Professor David Delpy, Chief Executive, EPSRC, said:

"This work represents an enormously important scientific development. An exciting new material that has a huge range of applications and will no doubt bring significant benefits to the UK economy. EPSRC has been supporting research by Professor Geim and his group for nearly 10 years and our latest grant has enabled the UK to retain the key academic and research staff behind this discovery, who might otherwise have been lost to foreign institutions."

Facts about Graphene

. Graphene is the world's thinnest material.

. One atom thick, it's the strongest material ever measured, incredibly stiff yet flexible, and a phenomenal conductor of heat and electricity.

. Electrons travel further in graphene than in any other material, opening up a range of potential electronic applications.

. Graphene-based integrated circuits could reduce the size and increase the sophistication of devices such as computers and mobile phones.

. Graphene-based transistors could help communications technologies exploit the terahertz part of the electromagnetic spectrum

. Other potential uses include a new generation of toxin and pollution sensors that are much more sensitive than those currently available.