What exactly is graphene?Graphene, also known as a “miracle material,” is one of the world’s strongest and lightest materials.Graphene, a form of carbon that is only one atom thick—many times thinner than a human hair—is transparent but stronger than steel.It was first proposed as a theoretical substance in 1947, but physicists thought it would be impossible to isolate for decades.
Scientists Andre Geim and Konstantin Novoselov solved the problem in 2004 by using ordinary sticky tape to lift a layer from a piece of graphite—the stuff in pencil lead.Using more tape, that layer was pulled apart, and the process was repeated until only the thinnest of layers remained—a graphene sheet.For their efforts, the pair was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2010.Graphene, a superconductor of heat and electric energy, is “among the most promising materials for future technologies,” according to Argentine chemistry researcher Marcelo Mariscal, a nanotechnology specialist.
\It is the focus of research into the production of ultra-strong but lightweight and flexible electronic devices, satellites, aeroplanes, and cars, as well as greener alternatives to batteries and a delivery vehicle for gene or molecular therapy—potentially for use in vaccines.What is the connection between COVID-19 vaccines?Graphene, like 5G and microchip technology, has been the subject of several “trojan horse” conspiracy theories in which governments or powerful individuals are allegedly seeking to remotely “control” people who receive some sort of mini device via coronavirus vaccines, or track their whereabouts via GPS.
According to one theory, this control could be exercised from 5G towers transmitting signals to people allegedly carrying graphene particles.In another widely circulated claim, social media users claimed the vaccine “magnetised” them, posting images of magnets, coins, or cutlery allegedly attached to the arm in which they received the shot.Some conspiracy theorists claim that graphene-containing vaccines have altered people’s “electromagnetic fields,” which can be fatal.What exactly is the truth?To begin with, none of the World Health Organization-approved vaccines contain graphene or its derivative, graphene oxide.
In April, Canada recalled certain anti-coronavirus facemasks with a graphene layer due to concerns that inhaled particles could cause asbestos-like lung damage.After a review found that “biomass graphene particles are not shed from these masks in quantities that are likely to cause adverse lung effects,” their sale was resumed in July.Experts also dispute graphene’s alleged magnetising properties.According to Diego Pena of the Spanish Research Centre for Biological Chemistry and Molecular Materials, the material “is magnetic only in very specific laboratory conditions.
“A video of a brain autopsy that went viral on social media as proof of graphene’s alleged lethal effects in a vaccinated person was actually from a patient with bleeding on the brain and was shot before COVID-19 was even identified.According to experts, the hype surrounding graphene’s promising applications—the majority of which are still in the research phase—has contributed to it being a popular target for misinformation.
“The material is well-known, and everyone knows it’s real, but not everyone understands how it works,” said Ester Vazquez Fernandez-Pacheco, director of Spain’s Regional Institute for Applied Scientific Research (IRICA).As a result, “it is very easy to persuade people to believe things that have no scientific basis.”
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