Carbyne, The Ultimate Form Of Carbon
Carbyne is a very unstable one-dimensional carbon chain first discovered in 1885 by Adolf von Baeyer. Why try to synthesize it? Its mechanical properties are theorized to exceed all known materials.
It’s assumed to be 2x stiffer than graphene, 40x stiffer than diamond, and have greater tensile strength than any other carbon material. With these kinds of properties, no wonder we’ve been trying to find ways to stabilize it.
And now, an international team of researchers have now found a way to mass produce carbyne.
The team took two layers of graphene, pressed them together, and rolled them into thin, double-walled carbon nanotubes. The tubes were then wrapped around the atoms. These nanotubes protect the carbyne chains from meeting imminent doom. Their research is published in the journal Nature Materials.
Before their discovery, the record-holding number of carbon atoms in one continuous chain was 100. Now, the record has been broken with an astounding 6,400 atoms utilizing this novel method – and the chain continues to be stable.
Cue the reference to one-dimensional diamond in Arthur C. Clarke's 1978 novel The Fountains of Paradise:
"...it is a continuous pseudo-one dimensional diamond crystal - though it's not actually pure carbon. There are several trace elements in carefully controlled amounts. It can be mass-produced only in the orbiting factories, where there's no gravity to interfere with the growth process."
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