If you’ve heard about the incredible properties of graphene, I’m sure you’ll be impressed by carbyne, a new form of carbon. While graphene has a two-dimensional chain of carbon atoms, the carbyne has only one chain of solitary atoms. It is stronger and stiffer than any known material (yes, even graphene) and a new study has found that it has the peculiar ability to change from insulator to conductor when stretched.
[Image Source: Rice]
The special properties of carbyne could be used in nano electronics, that are activated when pressed, since the function of transistors is to alternate between conducting and insulating. The Rice University team found that a stretch of only 3% in carbyne can make it change from conductor to insulator.
But before we get too excited, it’s important to realize that it is very difficult to get carbyne. Graphene, on the other hand, is becoming increasingly easy to make – it can even be made using scotch tape. While carbyne has been detected in interstellar dust and compressed graphite, it is proving very challenging to recreate in the lab – researchers have only managed to create very small chains of up to 44 atoms.
The new study on the properties of carbyne is based more on computer simulation than in real carbyne chain models, however, the results are interesting enough to go through with further research.
“Our intention was to put it all together, to construct a complete mechanical picture of carbyne as a material,” said researcher Vasilii Artyukhov. “The fact that it has been observed tells us it’s stable under tension, at least, because otherwise it would just fall apart.”
Even though so far the test have been theoretical, analyzing carbyne has proven to be very exciting and promising