“A lot of dis­cov­eries in the lab­o­ra­tory are purely acci­dental,” said Swastik Kar, an assis­tant pro­fessor of physics in the Col­lege of Sci­ence.

He and Yung Joon Jung, an asso­ciate pro­fessor of mechan­ical and indus­trial engi­neering, have received a three-​​​​year, $309,000 National Sci­ence Foun­da­tion grant to explore a phe­nom­enon they dis­cov­ered entirely by chance, which could afford a new gen­er­a­tion of extremely effi­cient electronics.

Kar’s exper­tise is in the physics of graphene, which is a sheet of carbon atoms, one-​​​​​​atom-​​​​​​thick. Because of its struc­ture, graphene is a supe­rior thermal and elec­tric con­ductor. Jung’s work focuses on the mechanics of carbon nan­otubes, or nanometer-​​​​sized rolled-​​​​up sheets of graphene.

“The two mate­rials are closely related in many ways,” said Kar.

Last year, the Provost’s office awarded Jung and Kar a Tier 1 Inter­dis­ci­pli­nary Seed Grant to develop new opto­elec­tronic and solar devices using both graphene and carbon nanotubes.

Full article: http://www.northeastern.edu/news/2012/05/kar-jung/