Graphite to Graphene: From a Mineral to an Advanced Technological Material

Carbon is one of a small number of elements that occur in the “native” state. The two most dominant naturally occurring forms of carbon are graphite and diamond, and these could hardly be more different in their properties: diamond is the hardest known natural material, whereas graphite is one of the softest (see Hazen et al. 2013 for a review of carbon mineralogy). Maybe for some, “diamonds are a girl’s best friend”, but I would argue that “graphite is one of society’s most useful minerals”. The focus of this article is on graphite and, more particularly, on the closely related material graphene. And graphene is important because of its extraordinary properties and potential range of applications.

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Mineralogy of Sulfides

Metal sulfides are the most important group of ore minerals. Here, we review what is known about their compositions, crystal structures, phase relations and parageneses. Much less is known about their surface chemistry, their biogeochemistry, or the formation and behaviour of ‘nanoparticle’ sulfides, whether formed abiotically or biogenically.

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