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A New Kind of Allotrope Contrasting with Graphene:

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  • Aug 04, 2021

A new allotrope other than charcoal and diamond has been made from carbon. Carbon exists in different forms. In addition to diamond and graphite, recently some new shapes with amazing properties have been discovered. Graphene, for example, is the thinnest known material with a single atomic layer thickness and its unusual properties such as behaving like a metal even on a small scale which make it an extremely exciting material. Graphene makes a perfect candidate for applications such as future electronics and high-tech engineering. The process demonstrates a novel way to produce other forms of carbon materials on the theoretically designed but not yet developed nanoscale. In this element, each carbon atom is connected to three neighbors that form hexagons arranged in a honeycomb lattice. Theoretical studies have shown that carbon atoms can also be organized in other flat networks while bound to three neighbors, but none of these planned networks has yet been realized.

Researchers at the University of Marburg in Germany and Aalto University in Finland have now discovered a new carbon lattice that is atomically thin like graphene, but consists of squares, hexagons and octagons that form an ordered lattice. Investigated the network with high resolution scanning probe microscopy and, interestingly, found that its electronic properties are very different from those of graphene.

In contrast to graphene, the new material called ‘narrow biphenylene lattice’ has metallic properties.  Narrow lattice strips is only 21 atoms wide; already behave like a metal, while graphene is a semiconductor in this size.  Professor Michael Gottfried from the University of Marburg, who leads the team, informs that these strips could be used as lead wires in future carbon-based electronic devices. This new carbon grid can also serve as a superior anode material in lithium-ion batteries, with a higher lithium storage capacity compared to current lithium-based materials.  Professor Peter Liljeroth's group carried out a high-resolution microscopy that showed the structure of the material, while researchers led by Professor Adam Foster used computer simulations and analyzes to understand the exciting electrical properties of the material.