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Large, stable pieces of graphene produced with a unique edge pattern

Different patterns are formed on the edges of the nanogen. Zigzags are particularly interesting – and especially unstable. The FAU researchers succeeded in creating stable carbon layers with this model on their edges. Credit: FAU / Konstantin Amsarov

Bay, fjord, bay, armchairs and zigzag chemicals use terms such as these to describe the shapes that carry the edges of the nanogen. The graphene consists of a single-layer carbon structure in which each carbon atom is surrounded by three others. This creates a pattern that resembles a honeycomb, with atoms in each of the corners. Nanogene is a promising candidate for bringing microelectronics to a nano-scale and possibly a substitute for silicon.

The electronic properties of the material largely depend on its shape, size and, above all, the periphery – in other words, how the edges are structured. The circumference of a zigzag is particularly suitable – in this configuration, electrons that act as charge carriers are more mobile than in other edge structures. This means that using zirconium-shaped graphene in nanoelectronics components can provide higher frequencies for switches.

Material scientists who want to explore only the zigzag nano genome face the problem that this form makes the compounds unstable and difficult to produce in a controlled way. This is a prerequisite, however, if the electronic properties should be thoroughly examined.

Researchers led by Dr. Konstantin Amsarov from the Department of Organic Chemistry II managed to do just that. Their research is now published in Natural communications. Not only did they discover a clear method for the synthesis of zigzag nano genes, their procedure yields a yield of close to 100 percent and is suitable for large-scale production. They have already produced a technically relevant amount in the laboratory.

The much-desired zig-zag model can be found either in the lines of a honeycomb (blue and purple) or four-limbed stars that surround the central point of the four graphite honeycombs (red and green). Credit: FAU / Konstantin Amsarov

The researchers first produced the preliminary molecules, which then fit together in the honeycomb formation over several cycles in a process known as cyclization. Finally, fragments of graphene are produced from drawn rows of honeycombs or four-limb stars around the central point of the four graft honeycombs, with the required zigzag pattern on the edges. The product crystallizes directly, even during synthesis. In their solid state, the molecules are not in contact with oxygen. In the solution, however, oxidation causes the structures to decay rapidly.

This approach allows scientists to produce large pieces of graphene while maintaining control over their shape and periphery. This breakthrough in graphene research means that scientists should soon be able to produce and explore various interesting nanogenetic structures, a key step in using material in nanometer components.

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More information:
Dominique Lungerchh et al., Dehydration π-extension of nanogens with zig-zag edge edges, Natural communications (2018). DOI: 10.1038 / s41467-018-07095-z

Reference in the newspaper:
Natural communications

Provided by:
University of Erlangen-Nuremberg

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