Highly conductive graphene produced alternative




It’s researchers succeeded in producing borofeen. Borofeen is a “two-dimensional” relative of graphene and is composed of the element boron. The now famous Graphene consists of carbon. Just like graphene borofeen consists of a single layer of atoms in a honeycomb structure.

In January 2014, it was revealed that it should be theoretically possible to manufacture a single layer material of boron atoms, which is now therefore is actually successful. Boron is in its normal state a semi-metal, or metalloid, and functions as a semiconductor but as a ‘two-dimensional’ film it has good conductive properties.

In order to produce borofeen, the researchers made a set-up in a vacuum chamber under an ultra high vacuum where a substrate of silver was in. The drill was then evaporated with an electron beam in order to precipitate, followed by the silver. The silver substrate was needed because silver does not react with boron. The material was evaporated at temperatures between 450 and 700 degrees Celsius. This proved to work best at temperatures of around 550ºC.

The drill hit in two different ways down on the silver. At a higher deposition rate, and lower temperatures, the boron film was homogeneous, or nearly flat. If the deposition rate was lower, and the temperature is higher, formed a ridged film, or “striped-phase nanoribbons’. Which of the two variants will be most useful, it is not yet clear.

However, there are ideas about how the phases react. For example, there are theories that the properties of the ribbed film in different directions will be quite different. Scientists suspect that borofeen more metallic properties will have in the direction parallel to the ‘wrinkles’, while at right angles to the wrinkles, the material may be less or non-conductive. The material would then be able to act as a one-way metal. The latter can be interesting, says one of the researchers Andrew Mannix on the news site Science.

Also, the researchers suspect on the basis of theoretical studies that the tensile strength of borofeen is higher than that of any other known material. It is not yet managed to separate the film from the silver, and there has yet figured out how to protect borofeen from the environment. Outside the vacuum chamber, the borofeen undergoes fast various chemical reactions with the outside air. Perhaps it is possible to tackle the borofeen in a protective layer of silicon or anything else to make it stable.

The way to produce the material is quite simple, allowing laboratories around the world without too many problems need to imitate. Scientists from several universities have published their method in the journal Science. Graphene was only first made in 2004. Then followed some other flat materials, such staneen.

Graphene and similar materials are potentially many ways to apply for electronics, such as for roll-up displays, and sensors sensitive tiny chips. The materials are light and super strong, but large-scale production has been proved to be an obstacle so far.

borofeen science

Borofeen. Source: Science


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