Scientists have long been trying to create new allotropes (forms) of carbon because of their versatility and usefulness to industry. But there has been only limited success so far. That is set to change now. In a major breakthrough, researchers at the University of Colorado Boulder, USA, have successfully synthesized graphyne the long hypothesized “next-generation wonder material”. An allotropic form of carbon, graphyne similar to graphene, is highly regarded in the industry. In fact, the study of graphene was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2010. However, scientists have previously only been able to make a few fragments, despite decades of research and theory. .
Carbon Allotropes such as graphene and fullerenes are produced using traditional chemical methods. But these methods do not allow the synthesis of different forms of carbon in large quantities, like what is needed for graphyne. Wei Zhang, a chemistry professor at CU Boulder, then decided to try it. Zhang studies the reversible chemistry that allows bonds to self-regulate, allowing new ordered structures to be created.
Using a process called alkyne fusion as well as thermodynamics and controlled kinetics, the researchers were able to successfully create a material comparable to the electrical conductivity of graphene, but have control. “There is a pretty big difference (between graphene and graphyne) but in a good way,” says Zhang. “This could be the next generation of wonder materials. That’s why people are so excited.”
Scientists believe this groundbreaking research will open up new possibilities for electronics, optics and Semiconductor materials research. The researchers published their findings in the journal Nature Nature Synthesis.
“The entire audience, the entire field, is really excited that this age-old problem, or this imaginary material, has finally come to fruition,” said Yiming Hu, the paper’s lead author and one of the authors. PhD student in Zhang’s laboratory group, said in a declare issued by the university. The researchers now want to study the material in detail, including how to make it on a large scale.