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Scientists have synthesized a "brother of graphene" - 2D sheet of boron

December 18, 2015, 12:22 UTC+3 MOSCOW
Borophene is an unusual material because it shows many metallic properties at the nanoscale even though three-dimensional, or bulk, boron is nonmetallic and semiconducting
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Borophene structure.
The “ridges” of the cardboard-like structure result in unusual properties of this material

Borophene structure. The “ridges” of the cardboard-like structure result in unusual properties of this material

©  Dr. Alexandra O. Borissova

MOSCOW, December 17. /TASS/. A team of scientists at the US Department of Energy’s (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory, Northwestern University, and Stony Brook University have for the first time created a two-dimensional sheet of boron - a material known as borophene. The study results were published in Thursday’s issue of Science.

Scientists have been interested in two-dimensional materials for their unique characteristics, particularly involving their electronic properties. Borophene is an unusual material because it shows many metallic properties at the nanoscale even though three-dimensional, or bulk, boron is nonmetallic and semiconducting.

Because borophene is both metallic and atomically thin, it holds promise for possible applications ranging from electronics to photovoltaics, said Argonne nanoscientist Nathan Guisinger, who led the experiment. "No bulk form of elemental boron has this metal-like behavior," he said.

One of boron’s most unusual features consists of its atomic configuration at the nanoscale. While other two-dimensional materials look more or less like perfectly smooth and even planes at the nanoscale, borophene looks like corrugated cardboard, buckling up and down depending on how the boron atoms bind to one another.

The discovery and synthesis of borophene was aided by computer simulation work led by Stony Brook researcher Xiang-Feng Zhou and Russian scientist Artem Oganov, who is currently affiliated with the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology and the Skolkovo Institute of Science and Technology. Oganov and Zhou used advanced simulation methods that showed the formation of the crinkles of the corrugated surface.

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