Researchers have finally created an important molecular structure – cyclocarbon, which stubbornly avoids the efforts of chemists to synthesize for more than 50 years, and which may be the key to creating molecular-scale semiconductors with various scientific and industrial applications .
Scientists synthesize a ring of pure carbon atoms, creating the first cyclocarbon
For decades, chemists have tried and failed to create a proposed structure for carbon molecules that they knew was possible but which proved to be aggravatingly difficult to create The closest that has ever come is to find evidence of these structures in jet gases, but this reactively prevented them from being isolated and confirmed. Now researchers at IBM Research and the University of Oxford have published this article in the journal Science this week, which announced the successful creation and imaging of this structure for the first time, revealing 1
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Yoshito Tobe, Chemist at Osaka University in Japan, Syntax Oxford.
"Many scientists, including myself, have tried to capture cyclic hydrocarbons and determine their molecular structures, but in vain," Tobe says.
Carbon is one of the most common elements in the universe and, depending on how carbon itself structures, carbon atoms can produce different carbon molecules called allotropes. These different forms of carbon can have different support for irregularities, just like any other compound, which is how many diamonds with a high level of hardness and the kind of dark, opaque and brittle lumps of charcoal used by artists to do sketches can are made of pure carbon.
is the difference in how many other carbon atoms a given carbon atom binds to the material. In a diamond, each carbon atom binds to four other carbon atoms around it, while in graphite and graphene, each carbon atom binds to its three neighbors. However, other connections are possible, and chemists are discussing the structure of cyclic hydrocarbons, theoretical structures that would only bond to two other carbon atoms that could be arranged to form a closed loop or ring.
For the synthesis of cyclocarbon, the research team starts with a triangular molecule made of carbon and oxygen and uses electric currents to manipulate its structure, removing oxygen and excess carbon to produce the long-sought-after ring, known as carbon-18.
A team of Oxford chemists prepared the specific carbon and oxygen structure that the IBM Research team in Zurich, Switzerland modifies with electric currents, peeling off atoms the way a sculptor pulls excess stone to reveal a sculpture below. After many attempts, IBM researchers cut off the last of the excess oxygen and carbon atoms, revealing a final ring of 18 carbon atoms. "I never thought I'd see this," says Laurel Skriven, a chemist and member of the Oxford team.
Initial tests were made to definitively describe the properties of carbon-18, one of the great mysteries of structure. As an encouraging result, carbon-18 appears to be a semiconductor, opening the possibility of using upright carbon-18 chains to create electronic components with a molecular scale.