Two-Layer Graphene Turns into Strong Material on Impact

Two-Layer Graphene Turns into Strong Material on Impact

Researchers at City University of New York (CUNY) have created diamene, a flexible material using two layers of Graphene. Diamene can become harder than diamond during impact and offers protection even against a bullet, the research team claims. Graphene is lightweight and showcases strength due to its hexagonal lattice structure. The study team added that the thin film of diamene showcases better strength compared to a diamond during an impact. The sheets could be used to protect fragile objects or as a bulletproof vest.

Scientists at the Advanced Science Research Center (ASRC) at the Graduate Center, CUNY combined two layers of graphene (each layer just one atom thick) to create diamene. The research team also noticed that during impact, there was a reduction in electric current which suggests that the material could also be used for its electronic and spintronic characteristics. Experiments and theory both show that this graphite-diamond transition does not occur for more than two layers or for a single graphene layer.

Nanotechnology has the potential to change the way we develop electronics and the materials we use in different industries. Graphene has been in focus over the last few years due to its lightweight and strength. Thin sheets of graphene can be used in electronics. However, the biggest bottleneck in use of graphene on commercial scale due to limited technologies for its commercial production. Scientists are working on techniques to make commercial graphene production a viable option.

Researchers added that the thin sheets can be effectively used in developing wear-resistant protective coatings and ultra-light bullet-proof films.

The research paper detailing the project has been published in the journal Nature Nanotechnology.

Project lead researcher Elisa Riedo informed, "This is the thinnest film with the stiffness and hardness of diamond ever created. Previously, when we tested graphite or a single atomic layer of graphene, we would apply pressure and feel a very soft film. But when the graphite film was exactly two-layers thick, all of a sudden we realized that the material under pressure was becoming extremely hard and as stiff, or stiffer, than bulk diamond."

Angelo Bongiorno, associate professor of chemistry at CUNY College of Staten Island said, “Graphite and diamonds are both made entirely of carbon, but the atoms are arranged differently in each material, giving them distinct properties such as hardness, flexibility and electrical conduction. Our new technique allows us to manipulate graphite so that it can take on the beneficial properties of a diamond under specific conditions.”

The research team’s successful work opens up possibilities for investigating graphite-to-diamond phase transition in two-dimensional materials, according to the paper. Future research could explore methods for stabilizing the transition and allow for further applications for the resulting materials.