New routes for mass production of indefinitely long carbon atomic chains

Assist. Prof. Seymur Cahangirov, co-authored an article on indefinitely long carbon atomic chains in Nature Materials.

New routes for mass production of indefinitely long carbon atomic chains

Assistant Professor Seymur Cahangirov, Member of UNAM and Materials Science and Nanotechnology Program co-authored a recent article on producing mass production of indefinitely long carbon atomic chains. The study appeared in Nature Materials 5, 634–639 (2016).

Carbon atoms serve as the main building block of living things. They can form strong bonds with different geometries thanks to their small core radius and four valence electrons that hybridize to form sp, sp2 and sp3 orbitals. sp3 orbitals make tetrahedral bonding resulting in three-dimensional structures like diamond, while sp2 hybridization results in two-dimensional materials like graphene.

The sp hybridization produces one-dimensional carbon atomic chains but these are very rare in nature and hard to synthesize. In fact, the record so far was 44 carbons. Dr. Cahangirov and his collaborators from experimental and theory groups in Europe and Japan reported synthesis and detailed experimental and theoretical analyses of chains reaching 6000 carbon atoms!

These long carbon atomic chains were synthesized inside double wall carbon nanotubes that act both as nanoreactors speeding the formation of chains and as encapsulation protecting highly reactive chains from environment. Carbon atomic chains can also be used in nanodevices as an ultimate quantum wire.

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