Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors


Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button

Home > Press > Flat boron may take many forms: Rice University researchers find two-dimensional boron has potential advantages over graphene

Rice University researchers led by theoretical physicist BorisYakobson used a technique usually applied to alloys to explore the rich variety of two-dimensional boron. They treated the vacancies in boron like the holes in Swiss cheese, as an element essential to its existance. (Credit: Evgeni Penev/Rice University)
Rice University researchers led by theoretical physicist BorisYakobson used a technique usually applied to alloys to explore the rich variety of two-dimensional boron. They treated the vacancies in boron like the holes in Swiss cheese, as an element essential to its existance.

(Credit: Evgeni Penev/Rice University)

Abstract:
When is nothing really something? When it leads to a revelation about boron, an element with worlds of unexplored potential.

Flat boron may take many forms: Rice University researchers find two-dimensional boron has potential advantages over graphene

Houston, TX | Posted on April 23rd, 2012

Theoretical physicist Boris Yakobson and his team at Rice University have taken an unusual approach to analyzing the possible configurations of two-dimensional sheets of boron, as reported this week in the American Chemical Society journal Nano Letters.

Treating it as Swiss cheese - in which the holes are as defining as the cheese itself - was the key concept in figuring out what atom-thin sheets of boron might look like. Those sheets, when rolled into a hollow tube, or nanotube, could have a distinct advantage over carbon nanotubes; boron nanotubes are always metallic, while the carbon atoms in a nanotubes can bearranged to form either metallic or semiconducting nanotubes. This variation in atomic arrangement -- known as chirality -- is one of the major hurdles to carbon nanotube processing and development.

"If I dream wildly, I like to think boron nanotubes would make a great energy-transporting quantum wire," said Yakobson, Rice's Karl F. Hasselmann Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science andprofessor of chemistry. "It would have the benefits of carbon, but without the challenge of selecting a particular symmetry."

A boron lattice, even in just two dimensions, can have a range of configurations, Yakobson said. Fully packed, it's a layer of atoms arranged in triangles. That's one extreme. But take one atom out, and what was six triangles becomes a hexagon. Take all such possible atoms out and the sheet looks exactly like graphene, the two-dimensional, single-atom thick form of carbon that has been all the rage in the world of chemistry and materials science for the past decade.

Between those two extremes are thousands of possible forms of pure boron in which missing atoms leave patterns of hexagonal holes.

"Carbon is well-defined," said Yakobson, whose theories focus on the interactions at play among atoms as they bond and break. "Any deviation in graphene's hexagonal form is what we call a defect, which has negative connotations.

"But we find there is a rich variety in two-dimensional boron," he said. "It's all purified - there's no non-boron here, even though there are vacancies, empty sites. The amazing thing is that nature prefers to have it that way; Not hexagonal, where every third position is missing an atom, and not a triangular lattice. The optimum is right in the middle."

In that most-stable middle ground, the researchers found 10 to 15 percent of the boron atoms in a lattice were missing, leaving "vacancy concentrations" in a variety of patterns.

Yakobson said using traditional computational methods to assess thousands of boron configurations would have cost too much and taken too long. So he and Rice research scientist Evgeni Penev applied cluster expansion, a method of calculation more commonly applied to alloys.

"Evgeni gave it a twist: He treated the empty spaces as the second alloy ingredient, in the same way you can't have Swiss cheese without 'alloyed in' voids and real cheese. In this calculation, the holes are an equal, physical entity."

With space as a pseudoalloy, the researchers found a range of formation energies one might employ to identify stable sheets of boron with particular vacancy concentrations. They also found that synthesized boron layers would probably be polymorphic: Each sheet could contain a jumble of patterns and still be considered pure boron.

"Polymorphic means that all these possibilities are pretty much equal, and equally likely to form," Yakobson said.

"This is a small part of the fundamental physics," Penev said. "The next step is to consider more practical things, like whether it can be synthesized and under what conditions."

Yakobson, who in 2007 first theorized the possibility of an 80-atom boron "buckyball," said that while boron is difficult to work with, that difficulty makes it more rewarding. "On one hand, it's very hard to conceive a possibility or to get experimental evidence. On the other hand, the field isn't as crowded as graphene."

Co-authors of the paper are Rice postdoctoral researchers Somnath Bhowmick and Arta Sadrzadeh.

The research was supported by the Department of Energy and the National Science Foundation through funding of Rice's DAVinCI computer cluster, administered by the Ken Kennedy Institute for Information Technology.

####

About Rice University
Located on a 300-acre forested campus in Houston, Rice University is consistently ranked among the nation's top 20 universities by U.S. News & World Report. Rice has highly respected schools of Architecture, Business, Continuing Studies, Engineering, Humanities, Music, Natural Sciences and Social Sciences and is known for its "unconventional wisdom." With 3,708 undergraduates and 2,374 graduate students, Rice's undergraduate student-to-faculty ratio is 6-to-1. Its residential college system builds close-knit communities and lifelong friendships, just one reason why Rice has been ranked No. 1 for best quality of life multiple times by the Princeton Review and No. 4 for "best value" among private universities by Kiplinger's Personal Finance. To read "What they're saying about Rice," go to www.rice.edu/nationalmedia/Rice.pdf.

For more information, please click here

Contacts:
David Ruth
713-348-6327


Mike Williams
713-348-6728

Copyright © Rice University

If you have a comment, please Contact us.

Issuers of news releases, not 7th Wave, Inc. or Nanotechnology Now, are solely responsible for the accuracy of the content.

Bookmark:
Delicious Digg Newsvine Google Yahoo Reddit Magnoliacom Furl Facebook

Related Links

Read the abstract at:

Related News Press

News and information

Enhancing molecular imaging with light: New technology platform increases spectroscopic resolution by 4 fold July 27th, 2016

New nontoxic process promises larger ultrathin sheets of 2-D nanomaterials July 27th, 2016

Nanometrics Reports Second Quarter 2016 Financial Results July 26th, 2016

Ultrasensitive sensor using N-doped graphene July 26th, 2016

Chemistry

New nontoxic process promises larger ultrathin sheets of 2-D nanomaterials July 27th, 2016

New reaction for the synthesis of nanostructures July 21st, 2016

Graphene/ Graphite

New nontoxic process promises larger ultrathin sheets of 2-D nanomaterials July 27th, 2016

Ultrasensitive sensor using N-doped graphene July 26th, 2016

Borrowing from pastry chefs, engineers create nanolayered composites: Method to stack hundreds of nanoscale layers could open new vistas in materials science July 25th, 2016

Physics

Ultra-flat circuits will have unique properties: Rice University lab studies 2-D hybrids to see how they differ from common electronics July 25th, 2016

Attosecond physics: Mapping electromagnetic waveforms July 25th, 2016

Govt.-Legislation/Regulation/Funding/Policy

Enhancing molecular imaging with light: New technology platform increases spectroscopic resolution by 4 fold July 27th, 2016

New nontoxic process promises larger ultrathin sheets of 2-D nanomaterials July 27th, 2016

New lithium-oxygen battery greatly improves energy efficiency, longevity: New chemistry could overcome key drawbacks of lithium-air batteries July 26th, 2016

Scientists test nanoparticle drug delivery in dogs with osteosarcoma July 26th, 2016

Chip Technology

New nontoxic process promises larger ultrathin sheets of 2-D nanomaterials July 27th, 2016

Nanometrics Reports Second Quarter 2016 Financial Results July 26th, 2016

Borrowing from pastry chefs, engineers create nanolayered composites: Method to stack hundreds of nanoscale layers could open new vistas in materials science July 25th, 2016

Integration of novel materials with silicon chips makes new 'smart' devices possible July 25th, 2016

Nanotubes/Buckyballs/Fullerenes

Easier, faster, cheaper: A full-filling approach to making nanotubes of consistent quality: Approach opens a straightforward route for engineering the properties of single-wall carbon nanotubes July 19th, 2016

Sensing trouble: A new way to detect hidden damage in bridges, roads: University of Delaware engineers devise new method for monitoring structural health July 8th, 2016

Wireless, wearable toxic-gas detector: Inexpensive sensors could be worn by soldiers to detect hazardous chemical agents July 4th, 2016

Nanotubes' 'stuffing' as is: A scientist from the Lomonosov Moscow State University studied the types of carbon nanotubes' 'stuffing' June 2nd, 2016

Discoveries

Enhancing molecular imaging with light: New technology platform increases spectroscopic resolution by 4 fold July 27th, 2016

New nontoxic process promises larger ultrathin sheets of 2-D nanomaterials July 27th, 2016

Scientists test nanoparticle drug delivery in dogs with osteosarcoma July 26th, 2016

Ultrasensitive sensor using N-doped graphene July 26th, 2016

Materials/Metamaterials

New lithium-oxygen battery greatly improves energy efficiency, longevity: New chemistry could overcome key drawbacks of lithium-air batteries July 26th, 2016

Designing climate-friendly concrete, from the nanoscale up: New understanding of concrete’s properties could increase lifetime of the building material, decrease emissions July 25th, 2016

Ultra-flat circuits will have unique properties: Rice University lab studies 2-D hybrids to see how they differ from common electronics July 25th, 2016

Attosecond physics: Mapping electromagnetic waveforms July 25th, 2016

Announcements

Enhancing molecular imaging with light: New technology platform increases spectroscopic resolution by 4 fold July 27th, 2016

New nontoxic process promises larger ultrathin sheets of 2-D nanomaterials July 27th, 2016

Nanometrics Reports Second Quarter 2016 Financial Results July 26th, 2016

Ultrasensitive sensor using N-doped graphene July 26th, 2016

Quantum nanoscience

Quantum drag:University of Iowa physicist says current in one iron magnetic sheet can create quantized spin waves in another, separate sheet July 22nd, 2016

A new spin on reality July 15th, 2016

Physicists couple distant nuclear spins using a single electron: For the first time, researchers at the University of Basel have coupled the nuclear spins of distant atoms using just a single electron July 12th, 2016

Quantum technologies to revolutionize 21st century: Nobel Laureates to discuss impacts at 66th Lindau Meeting July 5th, 2016

NanoNews-Digest
The latest news from around the world, FREE




  Premium Products
NanoNews-Custom
Only the news you want to read!
 Learn More
NanoTech-Transfer
University Technology Transfer & Patents
 Learn More
NanoStrategies
Full-service, expert consulting
 Learn More











ASP
Nanotechnology Now Featured Books




NNN

The Hunger Project







Car Brands
Buy website traffic