At first glance, this wispy apparition looks like a ghostly owl, or perhaps the handiwork of a drunken spider. What you’re really looking at, though, is a close-up of the world’s lightest material: aerographite. Because this material conducts electricity, it might one day be used in ultra-lightweight batteries to power your electronic car or e-bike.
Recently created by researchers at the Hamburg University of Technology and the University of Kiel, aerographite can be compressed by up to 95 % without sustaining any damage. This resilience means that it might also find a use in future satellites or aircraft, which have to endure vigorous vibrations.