Profile: Mar García-Hernandez
Mar García-Hernandez of the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC) is the leader of the Graphene Flagship Work Package Enabling Materials, which is focused on development of scalable synthesis methods for graphene and other layered materials.
Graphene Flagship: How did you first become interested in science?
Mar García-Hernandez: I was studying humanities in high school and wanted to become a philosopher. After visiting a series of university lectures, I found that philosophy was much too subjective for me. The scientific method and its grounding in facts appealed to me more. I went on to study Chemical Physics followed by a PhD in Molecular Physics. In my first post-doc I started working in Experi- mental Condensed Matter Physics, and I still do.
GF: How did you get involved in graphene research?
MGH: I was already working on 2D materials, specifically the physics of interphases between interfacial layers, and I was aware of the effect of 2D materials in a physical system. When graphene was isolated, I thought it made sense to pursue this field.
GF: How did you come to join the Graphene Flagship?
MGH: When the Graphene Flagship launched, I realized that Spain had a great potential for contributing to the project. The companies Graphenea, Antolín and Avanzare already made Spain one of the largest producers of graphene. There were also big companies like Repsol or Airbus genuinely interested in graphene. I saw the project as a great opportunity and took the lead in the Spanish graphene community.
GF: What is your favorite thing about your work?
MGH: The best thing about science is that you ask questions, form a hypothesis, and then you have a very good chance of finding a solution. With graphene it was a whole new era, the material posed new challenges and suggested a lot of new questions. The synthesis of graphene was a new field with a horizon that was so astonishing and so broad that it was very encouraging.
GF: What is your favorite property of graphene?
MGH: The morphology of graphene, the fact that it is the thinnest material in the world is truly amazing! Beyond that, the electronic properties of graphene as defined by the Dirac equation are incredible because of the many possible applications created by charge careers in graphene that have an effective speed comparable to the speed of light.
Mar García-Hernandez was one of 70 Graphene Flagship co-authors on the recently published graphene handbook: "Production and Processing of Graphene and Related Materials".