The recent years interest in graphene started when Andre Geim and Konstantin Novoselov first managed to isolate the material by using the 'scotch-tape' method. This simply and "primitive" method eventually led to their Nobel-Prize in 2010, and the graphene boom started.
But atomic processes behind the micromechanical cleavage in this method have never been really understood - until now. A research team from Russia, the USA and Finland researched the physics, kinetics and energetics behind the regarded this method, using molybdenum disulphide (MoS2) as the model material.
To fully understand the process, the researchers developed a direct in situ probing technique in a high-resolution transmission electron microscope (HRTEM) to investigate the mechanical cleavage processes and associated mechanical behaviors.