"Owing to the talents and efforts of materials chemists, graphene now grows like mold on almost anything, and from almost any feedstock," Boris Yakobson, professor at Rice University, said. "But how it looks and the shape it takes is hard to understand or predict." Yakobson is referring in particular to a method of producing graphene known as "chemical vapor deposition," which involves dispersing carbon atoms in the air above a metal substrate onto which carbon will attach itself and form the graphene crystal lattice. Yakobson and his colleagues were the first to perform theoretical calculations of how the carbon atoms assemble themselves into graphene, taking a cue from crystal expertise developed for semiconductors. Co-author Vasilii Artyukhov adds, "crystal growth theory is a large and established field of science, and there are many more concepts that can be applied to graphene synthesis beyond the first steps outlined in our work."