New 3D Carbon Allotrope Predicted
Carbon is an important element for modern life, and not just because of its necessity for biochemistry. The element is also found in many materials and devices we use daily, in one form or another. Researchers at Virginia Commonwealth University, Peking University, and the Shanghai Institute of Technical Physics have recently discovered a new, theoretical, three-dimensional form of carbon with the special property of being a conductor at standard temperature and pressure (STP).
The saying may be 'diamonds are forever,' but the chemistry is the opposite as graphite is actually the most stable form of carbon at STP. This means that diamonds, graphene, fullerenes, and nanotubes, if left alone at room temperature and pressure, will eventually decay into graphite. As graphite is a rather poor electrical conductor, researchers have been looking for another crystalline structure of carbon that is stable at STP, but is a good conductor, and it appears the researchers have found one, in theory.
This new form of carbon is comprised of tetrahedrons that interlock to form hexagons, and these hexagons give it its electrical conductivity, like they do in graphene. Being theoretical and early in development though, it may be some time before this carbon allotrope is synthesized, but when it is, it could have applications as a lightweight metal or low-resistance conductor.
Source: Virginia Commonwealth University