Graphane has the same honeycomb structure as graphene, except that it is "spray-painted" with hydrogen atoms that attach themselves to the carbon. The resulting bonds between the hydrogen and carbon atoms effectively tie down the electrons that make graphene so conducting. Yet Graphane retains the thinness, super-strength, flexibility and density of its older chemical cousin.

One advantage of graphane is that it could actually become easier to make the tiny strips of graphene needed for electronic circuits. Such structures are currently made rather crudely by taking a sheet of the material and effectively burning away everything except the bit you need. But now such strips could be made by simply coating the whole of a graphene sheet – except for the strip itself - with hydrogen. The narrow bit left free of hydrogen is your conducting graphene strip, surrounded by a much bigger graphane area that electrons cannot go down.

As if this is not enough, the physicist group in Manchester that discovered Graphane have found that by gradually binding hydrogen to graphene they are able to drive the process of transforming a conducting material into an insulating one and watch what happens in between.

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