Scientists Synthesize New Carbon Material: A Two-Dimensional Monolayer Polymeric Fullerene

Monolayer Polymeric C60

Illustration of the structure of monolayer polymeric C60. Credit: Ella Maru Studio

Synthetic carbon allotropes are intriguing due to their exceptional properties and potential applications. Scientists have devoted decades to synthesizing new types of carbon materials. However, a two-dimensional fullerene, which possesses a unique structure, has not been successfully synthesized until now.

Recently, scientists developed a new interlayer bonding cleavage strategy to prepare a two-dimensional monolayer polymeric fullerene. The research group was led by Prof. ZHENG Jian from the Institute of Chemistry of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (ICCAS) 

The researchers prepared magnesium intercalated C60 bulk crystals as the precursor to the exfoliation reaction. They then utilized a ligand-assisted cation exchange strategy to cleave the interlayer bonds into bulk crystals, which led to the bulk crystals being exfoliated into monolayer nanosheets.

The structure of monolayer polymeric C60 was explored by single crystal X-ray diffraction and scanning transmission electron microscopy (STEM). In this monolayer polymeric C60, cluster cages of C60 are covalently bonded with each other in a plane, forming a regular topology that is distinct from that of conventional 2D materials.

Furthermore, the monolayer polymeric C60 exhibits an interesting in-plane anisotropic property and a moderate bandgap of 1.6 eV, which makes it a potential candidate for use in electronic devices.

“The work is the first to synthesize a monolayer polymeric fullerene. It is of great significance, as it adds a new member to the carbon material family,” ZHENG said. “This work has opened up a new research field in two-dimensional carbon material areas and the synthesis strategy could provide a unique perspective in exploring new carbon material.”

Reference: “Synthesis of a monolayer fullerene network” by Lingxiang Hou, Xueping Cui, Bo Guan, Shaozhi Wang, Ruian Li, Yunqi Liu, Daoben Zhu and Jian Zheng, 15 June 2022, Nature.
DOI: 10.1038/s41586-022-04771-5

The study, entitled “Synthesis of a monolayer fullerene network,” was published in Nature. The research was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China and CAS.

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