If you were to hold a piece of graphite and a piece of diamond in your hands, you may find it surprising that both materials are pure carbon, due to their very different properties. The reason for the differences is that the two materials have very different atomic structures. Another form of carbon, graphene, also has special properties due to its structure, and now researchers at Boston College and Nagoya University have managed to change it and produce more special properties.
Graphene is an atom-thin plane of carbon that looks like chicken wire, with carbon atoms bonded in a hexagonal pattern. What the researchers have done is changed structure to include some five heptagons (seven sides) and one pentagon. This causes the graphene to bend and form 'grossly warped nanographene.' Consisting of just 80 carbon atoms and some hydrogen atoms along the edge, the new material behaves differently than comparable pieces of planar nanographene, such as being more soluble and having a different color. The grossly warped nanographene also has different electrochemical properties as it easily gives up electrons in reactions (oxidizes) but resists accepting electrons (reducing).
Due to graphene's extraordinary electrical properties, many researchers are attempting to develop technologies and techniques to use it in computers. Now that we know its electrical properties can be precisely controlled by changing its atomic structure, we may find new applications.
Source: Boston College