Next generation synthetic covalent 2-D materials unveiled

UAntwerp researchers from the CMT group, Dr. Mehmet Yagmurcukardes and Prof. Francois Peeters, in collaboration with a team from Manchester have uncovered novel 2D materials.

(Nanowerk News) A team of researchers at the National Graphene Institute at The University of Manchester have developed a new method to synthesize 2D materials that are thought to be impossible or, at least, unobtainable by current technologies.

Graphene was the world’s first two-dimensional material, which subsequently opened the gates for the isolation of other two-dimensional materials.

Graphene and other 2D materials usually have a 3D counterpart known as a ‘bulk analogue’. For example graphene is a single layer of carbon atoms derived from graphite.

Recently, there has been a growing interest in the fabrication of synthetic 2D materials that have no layered bulk analogue. Researchers have started to look at 2D materials that do not have a 3D counterpart.

Traditionally, 2D materials are isolated by a process called mechanical exfoliation -taking the bulk material and exfoliating the layers from each other until a single layer is achieved.

In contrast to these layered crystals, those materials that have no layered structures are held together by covalent bonds between the atomic planes, which do not allow mechanical exfoliation.

As published in Nano Letters ("Two-dimensional covalent crystals by chemical conversion of thin van der Waals materials"), by using chemical conversion, the team at the University were able to convert layers of existing layered materials into a new covalent two-dimensional material. As an example, mechanically exfoliated 2D indium selenide (InSe) is converted into atomically thin indium fluoride (InF3), which has a non-layered structure and therefore cannot be possibly obtained by exfoliation, by a fluorination process.

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The work was published in Nano Letters, " Two-dimensional covalent crystals by chemical conversion of thin van der Waals materials ".

Read more about ongoing research at the CMT website.