Miracle Molecule Graphene Synthesized

Miracle Molecule Graphene Synthesized
Crystal structure of a graphene sheet. Credit: Yiming Hu

For more than a decade, researchers have tried to synthesize a new form of carbon called Graphene. However, they had limited success in this regard. These efforts are now coming to an end, thanks to new research from the University of Colorado Boulder.

Graphene is highly valued by researchers in industrial applications.

It also bears similarities to the "wonderful material" graphene, another type of carbon that was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2010. Theoretically, only a few pieces have been created so far.

This research, announced last week in Nature Synthesis, fills a long-standing gap in carbon materials science.

It potentially opens up whole new possibilities for electronics, optics and semiconductor materials research.

Researcher Yiming Hu said: “Those working in this field are really excited that this longstanding problem or this fictitious material is finally realizing.”

Researchers have long been interested in the construction of new or novel carbon allotropes, or forms of carbon, because of the industrial utility and versatility of carbon.

Carbon allotropes can be formed in a variety of ways, depending on how sp2, sp3, and sp hybridize to carbon (or carbon atoms can be variously bonded to other elements) and the corresponding bonds are used. The best-known allotropes of carbon are graphite (used in tools such as pens and batteries) and diamond, which are made from sp2 and sp3 carbon, respectively.

Researchers have successfully created various allotropes over the years using traditional chemistry methods, including fullerene (his discovery won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1996) and graphene.

Researchers have successfully created various allotropes over the years using traditional chemistry methods, including fullerene (his discovery won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1996) and graphene.

However, these methods do not allow for large amounts of co-synthesis of different carbon species, as is required for graphene. Thought to have unmatched electron conductivity, mechanical and optical properties, he left this theoretical material as mere theory.

However, it was the need for the unconventional that prompted those in the field to contact Wei Zhang's lab group.

Zhang, a professor of chemistry at the University of Colorado Boulder, studies reversible chemistry, which allows bonds to self-correct and allows for the creation of new ordered structures, or lattices, such as hexagonal lattices.

Zhang's statements are as follows;

Creating graphene “is a really old, long-standing question, but interest has waned as synthetic tools are limited.”

A student in Zhang's lab group commented. “We resurfaced the issue and used a new tool to fix an old issue that was really important.” We used a technique known as alkyne metathesis.

This is an organic reaction involving the redistribution of alkyne chemical bonds, also known as cutting and reforming (a type of hydrocarbon with at least one carbon-carbon triple covalent bond).
In addition to thermodynamic and kinetic control, the group was able to successfully create something that had never been done before: a material with the conductivity of graphene but controlled.

"There's a big difference (between graphene and graphene), but it's a good one," Zhang said. Said. “This has the potential to be next-generation wonder material. That's why everyone is so excited."

While the material has been successfully created, the team wants to explore its properties, such as how it can be created and manipulated on a large scale.

“We're really trying to explore this new material multidimensionally, both experimentally and theoretically, from the atomic level to real devices,” Zhang says of the next steps.

These efforts should help determine how the material's electron-conducting and optical properties can be used in industrial applications such as lithium-ion batteries.

The explanations continue as follows.

“We hope in the future we can reduce costs and simplify the reaction procedure so that people can truly benefit from our research.”

According to Zhang, this work could not have been completed without the assistance of an interdisciplinary team, and he added, "This work probably could not have been done without the support of the physics department, without some support from colleagues."

source: phys.org

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