If metals have always been the best conductors, what is it about graphene that makes it such a good conductor in the plane?

Specifically, in the metals silver is better than copper. I always assumed that the further away the valence electron was, the easier mobility would be for the same structure, but gold is worse than silver. Now, it appears that graphene is better than silver.

What is it about graphene that makes it so conductive, and can a wire theoretically be fabricated out of graphene? Given that thickness seems to change its properties, would there have to be dielectric separating each layer in such a wire?

Finally, why isn't Silicon by analogy a better conductor than Carbon? And please don't give an answer stating that the band gaps are lower for graphene, I want an explanation of why a particular element has higher or lower bandgaps.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ This is an awfully broad question. Have you tried Googling for articles on conduction in graphene? If so, what specific points did you have difficulty with? $\endgroup$ Mar 27, 2014 at 10:42
  • $\begingroup$ Ok, I tried to rephrase and focus the question $\endgroup$
    – Dov
    May 6, 2014 at 8:40
  • $\begingroup$ In what sense graphene conducts well? $\endgroup$
    – Fabian
    May 6, 2014 at 8:54
  • $\begingroup$ I have seen quoted resistivity of 1e-8 compared to 1.6e-8 for silver. Of course I have also read here how that is untrue, that it is not directly comparable because it is a 2d material $\endgroup$
    – Dov
    May 6, 2014 at 12:55
  • $\begingroup$ If you have access to Griffiths' textbook on quantum mechanics, §5.3 should give you an idea of the complexity involved in 'an explanation of why a particular element has higher or lower bandgaps.' $\endgroup$
    – rob
    May 6, 2014 at 15:04


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