Nav: Home

Plumbene, graphene's latest cousin, realized on the 'nano water cube'

May 23, 2019

Two-dimensional materials made of Group 14 elements, graphene's cousins, have attracted enormous interest in recent years because of their unique potential as useful topological insulators.

In particular, the up-to-now purely theoretical possibility of a lead-based 2D honeycomb material, called plumbene, has generated much attention because it has the largest spin-orbit interaction, due to lead's orbital electron structure and therefore the largest energy band gap, potentially making it a robust 2D topological insulator in which the Quantum Spin Hall Effect might occur even above room temperature.

For this reason finding a reliable and cheap method of synthesizing plumbene has been considered to be an important goal of materials science research.

Now, Nagoya University-led researchers have created plumbene by annealing an ultrathin lead (Pb) film on palladium Pd(111). The resulting surface material has the signature honeycomb structure of a 2D monolayer, as revealed by scanning tunneling microscopy.

Surprisingly, beneath the plumbene, a palladium-lead (Pd-Pb) alloy thin film forms with a bubble structure reminiscent of a Weaire-Phelan structure (which partitions space into cells of equal volume with the least total surface area of the walls between them, solving the "Kelvin Problem"). The Weaire-Phelan structure was the inspiration for the design of the Beijing National Aquatics Centre ("Water Cube") of the 2008 Olympics in Beijing.

Group leader Professor Junji Yuhara jokingly recalls that the case of the Beijing Water Cube and the Weaire-Phelan structure is not the first time that architects and materials scientists have inspired each other. "Architect Buckminster Fuller designed the geodesic sphere for the World Expo 1967 in Montreal, and later the Buckminster Fullerene, C60, was named after him."

According to Professor Yuhara, "Both plumbene and the 'nano water cube' are a beautiful addition to the Nano Nature World. The buildings of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, the 2024 Paris Olympics, Expo 2020 Dubai, Expo 2023 Buenos Aires, Expo 2025 Osaka, and so on may also be placed in the spotlight again as future new materials," he says.

"The advent of plumbene", remarks Professor Yuhara, "has been long awaited, and comes after the creation of silicene in 2012, germanene in 2014 and stanene in 2015. It will certainly launch a rush for applications."
"Graphene's Latest Cousin: Plumbene Epitaxial Growth on a 'Nano WaterCube'." This paper recently appeared in Advanced Materials and can be accessed at

Authors: Junji Yuhara, Bangjie He, Noriaki Matsunami, Masashi Nakatake and Guy Le Lay.

Nagoya University

Related Palladium Articles:

Atomic-level imaging could offer roadmap to metals with new properties
A team of researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology has developed a new process that could help gain new insights into high-entropy alloys and help characterize their properties.
Precious metal flecks could be catalyst for better cancer therapies
Tiny extracts of a precious metal used widely in industry could play a vital role in new cancer therapies.
SibFU scientists discovered material that can make solar cells more efficient
Researchers at Siberian Federal University, together with colleagues from the Royal Institute of Technology (Stockholm, Sweden), discovered new properties of material based on palladium, which can increase the performance of solar cells.
A catalyst for sustainable methanol
Scientists at ETH Zurich and oil and gas company Total have developed a new catalyst that converts CO2 and hydrogen into methanol.
Good vibrations: Using piezoelectricity to ensure hydrogen sensor sensitivity
Researchers at Osaka University developed a new method that uses piezoelectric resonance to improve the manufacture of highly sensitive hydrogen sensors.
More Palladium News and Palladium Current Events

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Erasing The Stigma
Many of us either cope with mental illness or know someone who does. But we still have a hard time talking about it. This hour, TED speakers explore ways to push past — and even erase — the stigma. Guests include musician and comedian Jordan Raskopoulos, neuroscientist and psychiatrist Thomas Insel, psychiatrist Dixon Chibanda, anxiety and depression researcher Olivia Remes, and entrepreneur Sangu Delle.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#537 Science Journalism, Hold the Hype
Everyone's seen a piece of science getting over-exaggerated in the media. Most people would be quick to blame journalists and big media for getting in wrong. In many cases, you'd be right. But there's other sources of hype in science journalism. and one of them can be found in the humble, and little-known press release. We're talking with Chris Chambers about doing science about science journalism, and where the hype creeps in. Related links: The association between exaggeration in health related science news and academic press releases: retrospective observational study Claims of causality in health news: a randomised trial This...