An international team of researchers from the University of Bayreuth has succeeded for the first time in discovering a previously unknown two-dimensional material using modern high-pressure technology. The new material, beryllonitrene, is made up of nitrogen and beryllium atoms that are regularly arranged. It has an unusual electronic network structure which shows great potential for quantum technology applications. Its synthesis required a compressive pressure about a million times greater than the pressure of the Earth’s atmosphere. Scientists presented their discovery in the journal Physical examination letters.
Since the discovery of graphene, composed of carbon atoms, interest in two-dimensional materials has grown steadily in research and industry. Under extremely high pressures of up to 100 gigapascals, researchers at the University of Bayreuth, in collaboration with international partners, have now produced new compounds composed of nitrogen and beryllium atoms. These are beryllium polynitrides, some of which conform to the monoclinic system, others to the triclinic crystal system. Triclinic beryllium polynitrides exhibit an unusual characteristic when the pressure drops. They take on a crystalline structure made up of layers. Each layer contains zigzag nitrogen chains linked by beryllium atoms. It can therefore be described as a planar structure made up of BeN? pentagons and Be? NOT? hexagons. Thus, each layer represents a two-dimensional material, beryllonitrene.
Qualitatively, beryllonitrene is a new 2D material. Unlike graphene, the two-dimensional crystal structure of beryllonitrene results in a slightly distorted electronic lattice. Due to its resulting electronic properties, beryllonitrene would be ideally suited for quantum technology applications if it could one day be produced on an industrial scale. In this still young field of research and development, it is a question of using the properties of quantum mechanics and the structures of matter for technical innovations – for example, for the construction of high-performance computers or for new encryption techniques for secure communication. .
“For the first time, close international cooperation in high pressure research has resulted in the production of a previously unknown chemical compound. This compound could serve as a precursor to a 2D material with unique electronic properties. possible thanks to a compressive pressure generated in the laboratory almost a million times greater than the pressure of the Earth’s atmosphere. Our study thus proves once again the extraordinary potential of high-pressure research in materials science, ”says co-author Prof. Dr Natalia Dubrovnikinskaia from the Laboratory of Crystallography at the University of Bayreuth. “However, there is no possibility to design a process for producing beryllonitrene on an industrial scale as long as extremely high pressures, such as those which can only be generated in the research laboratory, are required for it. Nevertheless, it is highly significant that the new compound was created during decompression and that it may exist under ambient conditions. In principle, we cannot exclude that one day it will be possible to reproduce beryllonitrene or a material. 2D similar with technically less complex processes and using it industrially. Study, we have opened up new avenues for high pressure research in the development of technologically promising 2D materials that could surpass graphene, ”states the corresponding author, the Professor Leonid Doubrovinsky of the Bavarian Institute for Research in Experimental Geochemistry and Geophysics of the University of Ba yreuth.
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