It was a material so strong that it would ‘take an elephant, balanced on a sharpened pencil, to break through a sheet of graphene the thickness of Saran Wrap [cling film].’ It won its creators the Nobel Prize and went on to receive a €1bn (£880m) research grant from the EU in 2013. It was touted as the ‘miracle material’ with ‘limitless potential’ set to turn the entire technology sector upside down. Put simply, graphene is a material stronger than diamond made up of single-atom-thick carbon sheets which are light, flexible and more conductive than silicon. Some news stories at the time expected change to be quick, silicon to be swapped out in favour of graphene and the future of super-strong, flexible screens and infinite connectivity to be ushered in. ‘The first silicon devices were in the 1940s,’ nanotechnology expert Professor James Tour, of Rice University, tells Metro.co.uk. ‘The silicon industry didn’t kick off until 1960. So there was around a 15-year gap from the time of the first transistor to the dawn of the silicon era. Some of the most interesting developments to reach the marketplace have come in medicine and the military: That’s all very exciting but it’s not qui...