Japanese researchers were the first to synthesize helically twisted graphene nanoparticles that may be used in nanomachines.
A team of researchers from Kyoto University and Osaka University reported that they are were the first to synthesize helical nanographene. Results of the work conducted by them were published in Journal of the American Chemical Society.
Graphene is a substance consisting of carbon atoms, just like graphite, However, as distinct from graphite, graphene atoms are located in one layer only. Properties of this substance were calculated in theoretical terms, but it could not be obtained and studied in the lab for a long time.
Ukrainian researchers, namely employees of Bogolyubov Institute for Theoretical Physics of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, significantly contributed to the theory of graphene. The breakthrough in the experimental study of graphene is related to the work, conducted by the British researchers of Russian origin – Andre Geim and Konstantin Novoselov. In 2010 they got the Nobel Prize in Physics for their studies.
Thanks to its high mechanical strength and other unique properties, graphene may potentially be used or is already being used in various technologies. Thus, it was used to create sensors, energy-efficient lamps, batteries are now being developed based on it.
Existence of helical nanographene was only proved theoretically, but so far no one could obtain it. Japanese researchers succeeded in creation of helical nanographene twisted both clockwise and counterclockwise. The shape of nanoparticles was confirmed by using X-ray crystallography.
This new shape of graphene may be used to create nanomachines, for instance, as the nanoscale induction coils or subminiature springs.
Researchers are not planning to end their scientific achievements and will keep on working to develop longer graphene spirals with a larger surface area. It is expected that they will have new physical properties.
It shall be noted that in 2016 three researchers – Jean-Pierre Sauvage, Sir J. Fraser Stoddart, and Bernard L. Feringa got the Nobel Prize in Chemistry “for the design and synthesis of molecular machines”.