Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors

Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button

Home > Press > Boron atoms stretch out, gain new powers: Rice University simulations demonstrate 1-D material's stiffness, electrical versatility

A simulation of one-dimensional boron under stress shows the theoretical material changing phase from a ribbon to a chain of atoms when pulled. The chain returns to ribbon form when the stress is relieved. Credit: Yakobson Group/Rice University
A simulation of one-dimensional boron under stress shows the theoretical material changing phase from a ribbon to a chain of atoms when pulled. The chain returns to ribbon form when the stress is relieved.

Credit: Yakobson Group/Rice University

Abstract:
Hold on, there, graphene. You might think you're the most interesting new nanomaterial of the century, but boron might already have you beat, according to scientists at Rice University.



1 D boron stretched to breaking

BR>
1 D boron stretches and recovers

Boron atoms stretch out, gain new powers: Rice University simulations demonstrate 1-D material's stiffness, electrical versatility

Houston, TX | Posted on January 26th, 2017

A Rice team that simulated one-dimensional forms of boron -- both two-atom-wide ribbons and single-atom chains -- found they possess unique properties. The new findings appear this week in the Journal of the American Chemical Society.

For example, if metallic ribbons of boron are stretched, they morph into antiferromagnetic semiconducting chains, and when released they fold back into ribbons.

The 1-D boron materials also have mechanical stiffness on a par with the highest-performing known nanomaterials.

And they can act as nanoscale, constant-force springs.

Experimental labs are making progress in synthesizing atom-thin and fullerene-type boron, which led Rice researcher Boris Yakobson to think 1-D boron may eventually become real as well.

Yakobson's lab creates atom-level computer simulations of materials that do not necessarily exist -- yet. Simulating and testing their energetic properties helps guide experimentalists working to create real-world materials. Carbon-atom chains known as carbyne, boron fullerenes and two-dimensional films called borophene, all predicted by the Rice group, have since been created by labs.

"Our work on carbyne and with planar boron got us thinking that a one-dimensional chain of boron atoms is also a possible and intriguing structure," Yakobson said. "We wanted to know if it is stable and what the properties would be. That's where modern theoretical-computational methods are impressive, because one can do pretty realistic assessments of non-existing structures.

"Even if they never exist, they're still important since we're probing the limits of possibility, sort of the final frontier," he said.

One-dimensional boron forms two well-defined phases -- chains and ribbons -- which are linked by a "reversible phase transition," meaning they can turn from one form to the other and back.

To demonstrate these interesting chemomechanics, the researchers used a computer to "pull" the ends of a simulated boron ribbon with 64 atoms. This forced the atoms to rearrange into a single carbyne-like chain. In their simulation, the researchers left a fragment of the ribbon to serve as a seed, and when they released the tension, the atoms from the chain neatly returned to ribbon form.

"Boron is very different from carbon," Yakobson said. "It prefers to form a double row of atoms, like a truss used in bridge construction. This appears to be the most stable, lowest-energy state.

"If you pull on it, it starts unfolding; the atoms yield to this monatomic thread. And if you release the force, it folds back," he said. "That's quite fun, structurally, and at the same time it changes the electronic properties.

"That makes it an interesting combination: When you stretch it halfway, you may have a portion of ribbon and a portion of chain. Because one of them is metal and the other is a semiconductor, this becomes a one-dimensional, adjustable Schottky junction." A Schottky junction is a barrier to electrons at a metal-semiconductor junction and is commonly used in diodes that allow current to flow in only one direction.

As a ribbon, boron is "a true 1-D metal robust to distortion of its crystalline lattice (a property known as Peierls distortion)," the researchers wrote. That truss-like construct gives the material extraordinary stiffness, a measure of its ability to resist deformation from an applied force.

As a chain of atoms, the material is also a strain-tunable, wide-gap antiferromagnetic semiconductor. In an antiferromagnet, the atomic moments -- the direction of the atoms' "up" or "down" spin states -- align in opposite directions. This coupling of magnetic state and electronic transport may be of great interest to researchers studying spintronics, in which spin states may be manipulated to create high-performance electronic devices. "It may be very useful because instead of charge transport, you can have spin transport. That's considered an important direction for devices that make use of spintronics," he said.

One-dimensional boron's springiness is also interesting, Yakobson said. "It's also a special spring, a constant-force spring," he said. "The more you stretch a mechanical spring, the more the force goes up. But in the case of 1-D boron, the same force is required until the spring becomes fully stretched. If you keep pulling, it will break. But if you release the force, it completely folds back into a ribbon. It's a mechanically nice structure." That property could be useful in nanoscale sensors to gauge very small forces, he said.

Rice alumna Mingjie Liu, now a research associate at Brookhaven National Laboratory, is lead author of the paper. Vasilii Artyukhov, also a Rice alumnus and now a research scientist at Quantlab Financial, is co-author. Yakobson is the Karl F. Hasselmann Professor of Materials Science and NanoEngineering and a professor of chemistry.

The office of Naval Research and the Robert Welch Foundation supported the research. Calculations were performed on Rice's National Science Foundation-supported DAVinCI supercomputer, which was administered by Rice's Center for Research Computing and procured in partnership with 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 home to the Baker Institute for Public Policy. With 3,910 undergraduates and 2,809 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 is ranked No. 1 for happiest students and for lots of race/class interaction by the Princeton Review. Rice is also rated as a best value among private universities by Kiplinger’s Personal Finance. To read “What they’re saying about Rice,” go to http://tinyurl.com/RiceUniversityoverview .

For more information, please click here

Contacts:
Jeff Falk
713-348-6775


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

Ultracold atom waves may shed light on rogue ocean killers: Rice quantum experiments probe underlying physics of rogue ocean waves April 27th, 2017

Looking for the quantum frontier: Beyond classical computing without fault-tolerance? April 27th, 2017

Metal nanoparticles induced visible-light photocatalysis: Mechanisms, applications, ways of promoting catalytic activity and outlook April 27th, 2017

Arrowhead Pharmaceuticals to Webcast Fiscal 2017 Second Quarter Results April 27th, 2017

2 Dimensional Materials

Two-dimensional melting of hard spheres experimentally unravelled after 60 years: First definitive experimental evidence of two-dimensional melting of hard spheres April 21st, 2017

Controlling forces between atoms, molecules, promising for ‘2-D hyperbolic’ materials April 4th, 2017

Videos/Movies

Wood filter removes toxic dye from water April 21st, 2017

Making Batteries From Waste Glass Bottles: UCR researchers are turning glass bottles into high performance lithium-ion batteries for electric vehicles and personal electronics April 19th, 2017

Nano-SPEARs gently measure electrical signals in small animals: Rice University's tiny needles simplify data gathering to probe diseases, test drugs April 17th, 2017

Govt.-Legislation/Regulation/Funding/Policy

Ultracold atom waves may shed light on rogue ocean killers: Rice quantum experiments probe underlying physics of rogue ocean waves April 27th, 2017

Metal nanoparticles induced visible-light photocatalysis: Mechanisms, applications, ways of promoting catalytic activity and outlook April 27th, 2017

Graphene holds up under high pressure: Used in filtration membranes, ultrathin material could help make desalination more productive April 24th, 2017

Nanoparticle vaccine shows potential as immunotherapy to fight multiple cancer types April 24th, 2017

Chip Technology

Geoffrey Beach: Drawn to explore magnetism: Materials researcher is working on the magnetic memory of the future April 25th, 2017

'Neuron-reading' nanowires could accelerate development of drugs for neurological diseases April 12th, 2017

Nanometrics to Announce First Quarter Financial Results on May 2, 2017 April 11th, 2017

AIM Photonics Presents Cutting-Edge Integrated Photonics Technology Developments to Packed House at OFC 2017, the Optical Networking and Communication Conference & Exhibition April 11th, 2017

Nanotubes/Buckyballs/Fullerenes

Nanotubes that build themselves April 14th, 2017

Intertronics introduce new nanoparticle deagglomeration technology March 15th, 2017

New stem cell technique shows promise for bone repair January 25th, 2017

Captured on video: DNA nanotubes build a bridge between 2 molecular posts: Research may lead to new lines of direct communication with cells January 9th, 2017

Nanoelectronics

Researchers “iron out” graphene’s wrinkles: New technique produces highly conductive graphene wafers April 3rd, 2017

A big leap toward tinier lines: Self-assembly technique could lead to long-awaited, simple method for making smaller microchip patterns March 27th, 2017

Scientists discover new 'boat' form of promising semiconductor: GeSe Uncommon form attenuates semiconductor's band gap size March 23rd, 2017

UC researchers use gold coating to control luminescence of nanowires: University of Cincinnati physicists manipulate nanowire semiconductors in pursuit of making electronics smaller, faster and cheaper March 17th, 2017

Discoveries

Ultracold atom waves may shed light on rogue ocean killers: Rice quantum experiments probe underlying physics of rogue ocean waves April 27th, 2017

Looking for the quantum frontier: Beyond classical computing without fault-tolerance? April 27th, 2017

Metal nanoparticles induced visible-light photocatalysis: Mechanisms, applications, ways of promoting catalytic activity and outlook April 27th, 2017

Geoffrey Beach: Drawn to explore magnetism: Materials researcher is working on the magnetic memory of the future April 25th, 2017

Materials/Metamaterials

California Research Alliance by BASF establishes more than 25 research projects in three years April 26th, 2017

Geoffrey Beach: Drawn to explore magnetism: Materials researcher is working on the magnetic memory of the future April 25th, 2017

Graphene holds up under high pressure: Used in filtration membranes, ultrathin material could help make desalination more productive April 24th, 2017

Russian scientists create new system of concrete building structures: Sientists of Peter the Great Saint-Petersburg Polytechnic University developed a new construction technology April 24th, 2017

Announcements

Ultracold atom waves may shed light on rogue ocean killers: Rice quantum experiments probe underlying physics of rogue ocean waves April 27th, 2017

Looking for the quantum frontier: Beyond classical computing without fault-tolerance? April 27th, 2017

Metal nanoparticles induced visible-light photocatalysis: Mechanisms, applications, ways of promoting catalytic activity and outlook April 27th, 2017

Arrowhead Pharmaceuticals to Webcast Fiscal 2017 Second Quarter Results April 27th, 2017

Interviews/Book Reviews/Essays/Reports/Podcasts/Journals/White papers

Ultracold atom waves may shed light on rogue ocean killers: Rice quantum experiments probe underlying physics of rogue ocean waves April 27th, 2017

Looking for the quantum frontier: Beyond classical computing without fault-tolerance? April 27th, 2017

Metal nanoparticles induced visible-light photocatalysis: Mechanisms, applications, ways of promoting catalytic activity and outlook April 27th, 2017

Video captures bubble-blowing battery in action: Researchers propose how bubbles form, could lead to smaller lithium-air batteries April 26th, 2017

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