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:

New enzyme-like tool lets chemists modify hard-to-reach spots on drug molecules
Chemists at The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) have devised a versatile molecule-building tool for creating new drugs and other chemical products.
Revolutionary process to create ether from esters using metal catalysts
Waseda University researchers have developed a new process using palladium or nickel as a catalyst for removing carbon monoxide from esters to produce ethers.
For first time ever, X-ray imaging at Argonne captures material defect process
Researchers at Argonne National Laboratory have discovered a new approach to detail the formation of material defects at the atomic scale and in near-real time, an important step that could assist in engineering better and stronger new materials.
CO2, the philosopher's stone to obtain valuable pharmaceuticals
Starting from readily available materials and CO2, ICIQ researchers prepare useful building blocks named 'cyclic carbonates' that can be converted into valuable pharmaceuticals like Tamiflu®.
New TSRI method makes building 'one-handed' drugs easier than ever
Chemists at the Scripps Research Institute have invented a new technique for constructing one-handed or 'chiral' drug molecules.
Single-step hydrogen peroxide production could be cleaner, more efficient
Chemical and biological engineers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison have uncovered new insight into how the compound hydrogen peroxide decomposes.
Ruthenium nanoframes open the doors to better catalysts
Researchers have created the first ruthenium nanoframes by manipulating the metal's crystal structure.
New catalyst makes hydrogen peroxide accessible to developing world
A group of researchers from Cardiff Catalyst Institute, Lehigh University and the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory has developed a method of producing hydrogen peroxide on demand through a simple, one-step process.
Editorial expression of concern for paper by Gugliotti et al.
The report 'RNA-Mediated Metal-Metal Bond Formation in the Synthesis of Hexagonal Palladium Nanoparticles' by Lina A.
Research reveals mechanism for direct synthesis of hydrogen peroxide
New research from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign reveals the mechanism for the direct synthesis of H2O2 on palladium cluster catalysts, and paves the way to design improved catalysts to produce H2O2 to use in place of harmful chlorine, regardless of the scale of the production facility.

Related Palladium Reading:

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

Digital Manipulation
Technology has reshaped our lives in amazing ways. But at what cost? This hour, TED speakers reveal how what we see, read, believe — even how we vote — can be manipulated by the technology we use. Guests include journalist Carole Cadwalladr, consumer advocate Finn Myrstad, writer and marketing professor Scott Galloway, behavioral designer Nir Eyal, and computer graphics researcher Doug Roble.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#529 Do You Really Want to Find Out Who's Your Daddy?
At least some of you by now have probably spit into a tube and mailed it off to find out who your closest relatives are, where you might be from, and what terrible diseases might await you. But what exactly did you find out? And what did you give away? In this live panel at Awesome Con we bring in science writer Tina Saey to talk about all her DNA testing, and bioethicist Debra Mathews, to determine whether Tina should have done it at all. Related links: What FamilyTreeDNA sharing genetic data with police means for you Crime solvers embraced...