In this video, Cockrell School of Engineering Professor Rod Ruoff demonstrates the very promising new material graphene, a single-atom thick layer of carbon atoms. Graphene research is a focus area at the university because of its vast expected applications that could change how everything from electronics, cars, airplanes and even buildings are produced.

"Graphene and ultrathin graphite will be integral in thermal management applications, from cooling computer chips to making buildings more energy efficient," wrote Ruoff in a recent essay for Know's The Big Question series.

In his essay, Ruoff describes the evolution of materials and how new carbon materials, such as graphene, could "transform technology and society."

Read more about the future of carbon materials in Ruoff's essay "The big question in the evolution of materials."