Real life is very time consuming. This is a quick post about a couple of cute papers that are up as asap on Nano Letters at the moment.
Coraux et al., Structural coherence of graphene on Ir(111) - This is the first of what I suspect will be a large number of papers coming from people trying to find nice surfaces on which to grow graphene. Sure, it's possible to get graphene over large areas of SiC wafers, as the Georgia Tech group has shown very prettily. Still, for graphene to really come into its own as a technology, it would sure be nice to grow it by some technique like CVD or MBE. These folks have shown that it's possible to grow good graphene over large areas using single-crystal Ir as a substrate. Unfortunately, that's not too useful in and of itself. Still, it's a start, and it lets them look at things like the growth mechanisms and the way graphene accommodates substrate roughness and point defects.
Yang et al., Experimental observation of an extremely dark material made by a low-density nanotube array - This immediately calls to mind the famous line of Nigel Tufnel in This is Spinal Tap, when discussing the cover of their "Black Album": "It's like, 'How much more black could it be?', and the answer is 'None - none more black.'" These folks have been able to use the intrinsic optical properties of nanotubes + the fact that they can be grown in "carpet" form to make the blackest material ever. Pretty cool.