When we first mentioned graphene—an atom-thin layer of carbon that is super-strong and bendable—two years ago, we anticipated it would be some time before products using this Nobel Prize-winning “miracle material” would hit the market. Now Head is marketing a tennis racquet that includes graphene, with champion player Novak Djokovic advertising the product. Head says the thin layer of carbon atoms help distribute the bulk of the racquet’s weight where it’s most needed, to the head or the grip.
Graphene will be a $126 million market by 2020, according to a recent report from Lux Research (which cautioned that “this growth is less than some of the hype may suggest”). Samsung and Sony are testing graphene-infused touch screens that have a flexible, paper-like feel but are 100 times stronger than steel and as conductive as copper. Look also for graphene-saturated batteries in the next generation of electric cars and graphene-based DIY roll-up solar panels, among other innovations. —Alec Foege