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Twisting Graphene Into Spirals

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Helical nanographene (in red).

Researchers in Japan have developed helical nanographene, which offers promising applications including nanoscale induction coils and molecular springs for use in nanomechanics.

Credit: Matsuda Lab/Kyoto University

Researchers at Kyoto and Osaka universities in Japan have successfully synthesized helical nanographene, a breakthrough that could lead to nanoscale induction coils and molecular springs for use in nanomechanics.

The team processed some basic chemical compounds through step-by-step reactions, such as McMurry coupling, followed by stepwise photocyclodehydrogenation and aromatization; the researchers found they had synthesized the foundational backbone of helical graphene, says Kyoto University's Yusuke Nakakuki. The team confirmed the helicoid nature of the structure using x-ray crystallography, which also revealed both clockwise and counter-clockwise nanographenes.

Additional tests determined the electronic structure and photoabsorption properties of the compound differ significantly from previous ones.

"This helical nanographene is the first of its kind," says Kyoto University's Kenji Matsuda. "We will try to expand their surface area and make the helices longer. I expect to find many new physical properties as well."

From Kyoto University
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