It is called a nanobelt, and comprises a connection of ring-shaped molecules consisting of six carbon atoms.
Sixty years ago it was just a dream, or a theory, but there were whoops of joy and high fives galore when a research team looked up at its LCD screen recently to see the hexagonal grid stringed up there.
“We have finally succeeded in forming a molecule that many scientists have dreamed of,” said Kenichiro Itami, professor of synthetic chemistry at Nagoya University and leader of the team. “There is a possibility that unknown functions of carbon nanobelt may be found.”
The team said the carbon nanobelt could be applied in various fields including semiconductors and luminescence material.
The findings, published in the online edition of the journal Science on April 14, show a circular-shaped carbon nanobelt with a diameter of about one-millionth of a millimeter formed by 12 connected hexagonal structures.
Although studies on forming the carbon nanobelt by rolling regular hexagonal structures that are connected in the shape of a strip have been conducted, nobody had achieved the elusive goal until now due to the difficulties of fixing the hexagonal structures in a circular pattern.
The key to the team’s success was in making the molecule structure circular in advance when the regular hexagonal structures had not yet formed.
A carbon nanotube can be formed by repeatedly adding carbon atoms to the carbon nanobelt.
Although the carbon nanotube has been widely applied to various fields, the problem is currently making the thickness equal, and also the properties can vary.
The team said it’s possible to form carbon nanotubes with an equal thickness by using carbon nanobelts as seeds for the game-changing molecules.
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