Carbon-rich molecules 'supersized' for the first time

December 02, 2005

A University of Oregon chemist has "supersized" carbon-rich molecules, enabling researchers for the first time to test theories about the useful properties of synthetic forms of carbon. The discovery by Mike Haley will be published as the cover story in the Dec. 9 edition of the Journal of Organic Chemistry (JOC). The story will be posted on the JOC website today (Dec. 2).

Scientists have long predicted that unnatural forms of carbon could have many technologically useful properties, much like those found for the natural phases of carbon, which are graphite and diamond. Haley's research seeks to prove those predictions are true and to do so, the new carbon materials must be of sufficient size to observe their properties.

"'Supersizing' fragments of unnatural carbon has enormous implications for determining future applications because certain properties can only be realized at much larger dimensions," said Haley. At a diameter of five to six nanometers (a nanometer is a billionth of a meter) the new disk-shaped molecules are more than twice the size of the one-to-two nanometer pieces previously developed by Haley's team. For instance, Haley explains that molecules of polystyrene used for Styrofoam cups are rigid because of their large size. At much smaller molecule sizes, however, the same material is a viscous liquid. "Size is important," he said.

Haley and doctoral student Jeremiah Marsden were able to produce several different supersized molecules by using acetylene subunits to link benzene anchors to form the giant networks. The expanded molecules have a high density of pi-electrons that are extremely useful for electronics and optics. Haley said the most promising application for the new material is in optical electronics and, specifically, switches used in telecommunications. Haley's group is collaborating with researchers at the University of Michigan to test the strength, reliability, and durability of the new material.

Mike Haley is a professor of chemistry and a member of the university's Materials Science Institute. His research was funded by a grant from the National Science Foundation.
-end-
Source: Mike Haley, 541-346-0456, Haley@uoregon.edu

Contact: Kathy Madison, 541-346-3145, kmadison@uoregon.edu

Links:
http://darkwing.uoregon.edu/~chem/haley.html
http://pubs.acs.org/journals/joceah/
http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/jo050926v

Images:http://waddle.uoregon.edu/gallery/newsimages/Haley_Molecules

University of Oregon

Related Carbon Articles from Brightsurf:

The biggest trees capture the most carbon: Large trees dominate carbon storage in forests
A recent study examining carbon storage in Pacific Northwest forests demonstrated that although large-diameter trees (21 inches) only comprised 3% of total stems, they accounted for 42% of the total aboveground carbon storage.

Carbon storage from the lab
Researchers at the University of Freiburg established the world's largest collection of moss species for the peat industry and science

Carbon-carbon covalent bonds far more flexible than presumed
A Hokkaido University research group has successfully demonstrated that carbon-carbon (C-C) covalent bonds expand and contract flexibly in response to light and heat.

Metal wires of carbon complete toolbox for carbon-based computers
Carbon-based computers have the potential to be a lot faster and much more energy efficient than silicon-based computers, but 2D graphene and carbon nanotubes have proved challenging to turn into the elements needed to construct transistor circuits.

Cascades with carbon dioxide
Carbon dioxide (CO(2)) is not just an undesirable greenhouse gas, it is also an interesting source of raw materials that are valuable and can be recycled sustainably.

Two-dimensional carbon networks
Lithium-ion batteries usually contain graphitic carbons as anode materials. Scientists have investigated the carbonic nanoweb graphdiyne as a novel two-dimensional carbon network for its suitability in battery applications.

Can wood construction transform cities from carbon source to carbon vault?
A new study by researchers and architects at Yale and the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research predicts that a transition to timber-based wood products in the construction of new housing, buildings, and infrastructure would not only offset enormous amounts of carbon emissions related to concrete and steel production -- it could turn the world's cities into a vast carbon sink.

Investigation of oceanic 'black carbon' uncovers mystery in global carbon cycle
An unexpected finding published today in Nature Communications challenges a long-held assumption about the origin of oceanic black coal, and introduces a tantalizing new mystery: If oceanic black carbon is significantly different from the black carbon found in rivers, where did it come from?

First fully rechargeable carbon dioxide battery with carbon neutrality
Researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago are the first to show that lithium-carbon dioxide batteries can be designed to operate in a fully rechargeable manner, and they have successfully tested a lithium-carbon dioxide battery prototype running up to 500 consecutive cycles of charge/recharge processes.

How and when was carbon distributed in the Earth?
A magma ocean existing during the core formation is thought to have been highly depleted in carbon due to its high-siderophile (iron loving) behavior.

Read More: Carbon News and Carbon Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.