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Beating graphene at its own game

by • February 28, 2016 • No Comments

Over the last few years, you’d struggle to have not at really least heard mention of an incredibly sturdy, electrically- and thermally-conductive, one-atom thick material called graphene. But now, researchers at the University of Kentucky are looking to turn it into a new material which can just boast actually additional astounding and useful attributes.

The new material is created up of a mixture of silicon, nitrogen and boron, coming together to form a one atom-thick, hexagonal structure, really much like to which of graphene. All those materials are widely on the market, inexpensive and lightweight, and the finished material is incredibly stable – theoretically at really least. The researchers utilized desktop simulations to try and get the bonds between the various base materials to disintegrate, but discovered they held sturdy, actually at temperatures of 1,000º C (1,832º F).

Whilst the structure of the new material is hexagonal – just like graphene – the various sizes of the elements utilized means which results in a less uniform structure, with unactually sides. But, while it can not be really as uniform, it does have a few worthwhile benefits over graphene. Most notably, it can easily be turned into a semiconductor by attaching other elements on top of the silicon atoms.

The inclusion of silicon atoms in the material may in addition manufacture it simpler to integrate the material with current silicon-based technologies. This may avoid the require for a sudden shift in materials, instead enabling the industry to slowly move away of silicon, easing the switch to smarter, additional versatile materials.

At this point, the novel material just exists in a theoretical sense, with the researchers via desktops at the University of Kentucky’s Center for Computational Science to perform the rigorous calculations. The team is now working with researchers at the University of Louisville to turn it into the material under laboratory conditions.

“We are really anxious for this to be created in the lab,” said team member Madhu Menon. “The ultimate test of any theory is experimental verification, so the sooner the better.”

The researchers published their work in the journal Physical Review B, Rapid Communication.

Source: University of Kentucky

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