Because of its many possible applications and the wide variety of possibilities it offers up, graphene has earned the title of “beautiful material” or even “miraculous” in modern science. Of course, he has a few tricks up his sleeve. Graphene has the potential to improve roads as well as delicate robotic tissues. He is not, however, the only one who chooses the title.
Scientists have known for a long time that there is another type of carbon called grafin that has some characteristics similar to graphene. Of course, they understood it through computer simulations and at a theoretical level because synthesising it is difficult and all previous attempts had resulted in “limited success.” Despite our efforts and research, we have only been able to produce a few bits.
So far, so good. It was recently synthesised by a team of researchers from the University of Colorado Boulder, and its intriguing driving properties open up a range of possibilities for study in electronics, optics, and semiconductor materials. “The entire audience, the entire field,” says Yiming Hu, lead author of the study published in Nature Synthesis, “is pleased that this old problem or hypothetical substance has become a reality.”
For ancient problems, there are new solutions.
Because of their industrial applications and versatility, scientists have long been interested in developing new carbon allotropes. Of these, graphite, which is used in pencils and batteries, and diamonds, are the most well-known.
Scientists have generated significant materials such as fullerene and graphene using classic chemical processes, and these materials have already starred in multiple Nobel laureates. Borofene is another substance that was recently synthesised and has a lot of potential.
They had less luck with graphene, which scientists have been theorising about for a long time and from which they expect electrons to have unique optical, mechanical, and conductive properties.
How did the University of Colorado Boulder team manage to free themselves from that situation? Using cutting-edge methods, Wei Zhang, a chemistry professor, says, “We introduced the problem and applied a new method to tackle an old problem that was incredibly relevant.” They used a technique known as alkyne metatheses in particular. And it paid off for them.
In an official release, the institution adds, “The group was able to successfully develop what had never been created before: a material that could equal the conductivity of graphene, but with control.” “This might be the great substance of the next generation,” Zhang warns, noting that there is “a very substantial difference in the good sense” between graphene and graphene.
While its success is critical, it does not mean that there is no more work to be done. The team still needs to conduct a thorough analysis of the material and determine how to handle and manufacture it on a large scale.
“We intend to minimise expenses and simplify the reaction technique in the future.” Then, ideally, individuals will be able to profit from our research, “Hu adds. Its goal is to figure out how the optical and conductive properties of graphene electrons can be employed in industries like lithium-ion battery manufacturing.
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