Graphyne for Advanced TransistorsCategory: Science & Technology
Posted: March 2, 2012 02:40PM
No, 'graphyne' is not a typo; it is another form of carbon related to the well-covered graphene. The reason graphene is as well-covered as it is has to do with its extreme electrical and mechanical properties. It is flexible, hard, and transparent while being able to conduct electricity at extremely high speeds with little resistance. These properties are a result of the hexagonal crystal structure the carbon atoms have in the atom-thick material. In such a structure the atoms are bonded with something between a single and double bond, making it very strong. Graphyne on the other hand does not have as simple of a structure. In fact there are different kinds of graphyne with different structures, but the one of current interest is 6, 6, 12, graphyne.
The reason graphene conducts as well as it does is because the energy levels of the conduction electrons form what are called Dirac cones. This allows the electrons to move as though they were massless, like another well-known particle; the photon. With computer simulations, researchers have found that 6, 6, 12-graphyne should also have Dirac cones, enabling the high speeds, but the cones are distorted. If the simulation is correct, then there will be a preferred direction for electrons to travel in; 6, 6, 12-graphyne is a one-way electronic highway, as it were. This is a major find for future transistors and other electronic components.
Of course, computer simulations can be wrong, so researchers will have to synthesize the material to check if this is true. However the kind of simulations performed are known for their reliability. Graphyne has not gotten much attention in the past, but that may be changing in a hurry.