Nav: Home

When predictions of theoretical chemists become reality

May 22, 2020

For the renowned journal Nature Materials, this was the occasion to invite Thomas Heine to a News and Views article, which was published this week. Under the title "Making 2D Topological Polymers a reality" Prof. Heine describes how his theory became a reality.

Ultrathin materials are extremely interesting as building blocks for next generation nano electronic devices, as it is much easier to make circuits and other complex structures by shaping 2D layers into the desired forms. Thomas Heine, Professor for Theoretical Chemistry at TU Dresden, is working on the prediction of such innovative materials. Their properties can be precisely calculated using modern methods of computational chemistry, even before they have been realized in the laboratory.

This research is particularly interesting for 2D polymers: their lattice type is defined by the shape of their building blocks, and those can be selected from the almost infinite variety of plane organic molecules which match the required structure. A particularly interesting example is the kagome lattice, which consists of the corners and edges of a trihexagonal tiling. In 2019, Yu Jing and Thomas Heine proposed to synthesize such 2D polymers from triangular organic molecules (so-called triangulenes). These materials have a combined honeycomb-kagome structure (see figure). Their calculations suggest that these 2D structures combine the properties of graphene (quasi massless charge carriers) with those of superconductors (flat electronic bands).

Now the Italian materials scientist Giorgio Contini and his international team have succeeded in synthesizing this 2D honeycomb kagome polymer, as published in Nature Materials earlier this week. An innovative surface synthesis method made it possible to produce crystals of such high quality that they were suitable for the experimental characterization of electronic properties. Indeed, the predicted fascinating topological properties were revealed. Thus, for the first time, it could be experimentally proven that topological materials can be realized via 2D polymers.

Research on 2D polymers is thus placed on a solid basis. The kagome lattice described here is only one example out of hundreds of possibilities to connect plane molecules to regular lattices. For some of these variants, other interesting electronic properties have already been predicted theoretically. This opens up numerous new possibilities for theorists and experimentalists in chemistry and physics to develop materials with previously unknown properties.

For the renowned journal Nature Materials, this was the occasion to invite Thomas Heine to a News and Views article, which was published this week. Under the title "Making 2D Topological Polymers a reality" Prof. Heine describes how his theory became a reality.

Prof. Heine explains: "These results show that 2D polymers can be materials with useful electronic properties, although their structures are much more wide-meshed than regular electronic materials, with distances of more than one nanometer between the lattice points. The prerequisite is that the materials are of excellent structural quality. This includes a high crystallinity and a very low defect density. Another important contribution of the colleagues around Prof. Contini is that, although the 2D polymers were produced on a metal surface, they can be detached and transferred to any other substrate, such as silicon oxide or mica, and thus be incorporated into electronic devices".
Original publication: Yu Jing and Thomas Heine. "Making 2D Topological Polymers a reality" Nature Materials.

Technische Universität Dresden

Related Polymers Articles:

Fluorescent technique brings aging polymers to light
Modern society relies on polymers, such as polypropylene or polyethylene plastic, for a wide range of applications, from food containers to automobile parts to medical devices.
Polymers to the rescue! Saving cells from damaging ice
Research published in the Journal of the American Chemical Society by University of Utah chemists Pavithra Naullage and Valeria Molinero provides the foundation to design efficient polymers that can prevent the growth of ice that damages cells.
Mixing the unmixable -- a novel approach for efficiently fusing different polymers
Cross-linked polymers are structures where large molecular chains are linked together, allowing exceptional mechanical properties and chemical resistance to the final product.
Theoretical tubulanes inspire ultrahard polymers
Rice University engineers print 3D blocks based on theoretical tubulanes and find they're nearly as hard as diamond.
New synthesis method yields degradable polymers
MIT chemists have come up with a way to make certain drug-delivery polymers more readily degradable by adding a novel type of building block to the polymer backbone.
Bottom-up synthesis of crystalline 2D polymers
Scientists at TU Dresden and Ulm University have succeeded in synthesizing sheet-like 2D polymers by a bottom-up process for the first time.
Secret messages hidden in light-sensitive polymers
Scientists from the CNRS and Aix-Marseille Université have recently shown how valuable light-sensitive macromolecules are: when exposed to the right wavelength of light, they can be transformed so as to change, erase or decode the molecular message that they contain.
Successful application of machine learning in the discovery of new polymers
As a powerful example of how artificial intelligence (AI) can accelerate the discovery of new materials, scientists in Japan have designed and verified polymers with high thermal conductivity -- a property that would be the key to heat management, for example, in the fifth-generation (5G) mobile communication technologies.
How to capture waste heat energy with improved polymers
By one official estimate, American manufacturing, transportation, residential and commercial consumers use only about 40 percent of the energy they draw on, wasting 60 percent.
Researchers can now predict properties of disordered polymers
Thanks to a team of researchers from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and the University of Massachusetts Amherst, scientists are able to read patterns on long chains of molecules to understand and predict behavior of disordered strands of proteins and polymers.
More Polymers News and Polymers Current Events

Trending Science News

Current Coronavirus (COVID-19) News

Top Science Podcasts

We have hand picked the top science podcasts of 2020.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Clint Smith
The killing of George Floyd by a police officer has sparked massive protests nationwide. This hour, writer and scholar Clint Smith reflects on this moment, through conversation, letters, and poetry.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#562 Superbug to Bedside
By now we're all good and scared about antibiotic resistance, one of the many things coming to get us all. But there's good news, sort of. News antibiotics are coming out! How do they get tested? What does that kind of a trial look like and how does it happen? Host Bethany Brookeshire talks with Matt McCarthy, author of "Superbugs: The Race to Stop an Epidemic", about the ins and outs of testing a new antibiotic in the hospital.
Now Playing: Radiolab

Producer Tracie Hunte stumbled into a duet between Nina Simone and the sounds of protest outside her apartment. Then she discovered a performance by Nina on April 7, 1968 - three days after the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Tracie talks about what Nina's music, born during another time when our country was facing questions that seemed to have no answer, meant then and why it still resonates today.  Listen to Nina's brother, Samuel Waymon, talk about that April 7th concert here.