There is much current excitement about the interesting new physics and unusual physical properties of carbon nanostructures, particularly carbon nanotubes and graphene. A brief review will be given of the physical underpinnings of carbon nanostructures that were developed over the past 60 years, starting with the electronic structure and physical properties of graphene and graphite, and then moving to graphite intercalation compounds which contained the first carbon nanostructures to be studied experimentally. Liquid carbon studies were precursors to the fullerene family of nanostructures and vapor grown carbon fibers were precursors to carbon nanotubes. Particular emphasis is given to the recent developments in our understanding of the photophysics of carbon nanotubes and graphene, with perspectives on future research directions for these fields.
Gene Dresselhaus studied physics at the University of California at Berkeley where he worked with Kittel and Kip on the early cyclotron resonance experiments on semiconductors and semimetals. His early postdoctoral work was at the University of Chicago and then a junior faculty position at Cornell University for 4 years. The major part of his professional career has been at MIT, first at the MIT Lincoln Laboratory and later at The Francis Bitter National Magnet Laboratory. He is a Fellow of the American Physical Society.
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