Scientists has created a two-dimensional sheet of boron — a material known as borophene. No bulk form of elemental boron has this metal-like behavior.
Borophene, both metallic and atomically thin, holds promise for possible applications ranging from electronics to photovoltaics.
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.
Like its periodic table neighbor carbon, which appears in nature in forms ranging from humble graphite to precious diamond, boron wears a number of different faces, called allotropes.
While graphite is composed of stacks of two-dimensional sheets that can be peeled off one at a time, there is no such analogous process for making two-dimensional boron.
Borophenes are extremely intriguing because they are quite different from previously studied two-dimensional materials.
Although at least 16 bulk allotropes of boron are known, scientists had never before been able to make a whole sheet, or monolayer, of borophene.
It’s only in the recent past that researchers have been able to make tiny bits of boron at the nanoscale. Boron has a rich and storied history and a very complicated chemistry.