Research ArticleMATERIALS

Carbyne with finite length: The one-dimensional sp carbon

Science Advances  30 Oct 2015:
Vol. 1, no. 9, e1500857
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.1500857

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Abstract

Carbyne is the one-dimensional allotrope of carbon composed of sp-hybridized carbon atoms. Definitive evidence for carbyne has remained elusive despite its synthesis and preparation in the laboratory. Given the remarkable technological breakthroughs offered by other allotropes of carbon, including diamond, graphite, fullerenes, carbon nanotubes, and graphene, interest in carbyne and its unusual potential properties remains intense. We report the first synthesis of carbyne with finite length, which is clearly composed of alternating single bonds and triple bonds, using a novel process involving laser ablation in liquid. Spectroscopic analyses confirm that the product is the structure of sp hybridization with alternating carbon-carbon single bonds and triple bonds and capped by hydrogen. We observe purple-blue fluorescence emissions from the gap between the highest occupied molecular orbital and the lowest unoccupied molecular orbital of carbyne. Condensed-phase carbyne crystals have a hexagonal lattice and resemble the white crystalline powder produced by drying a carbyne solution. We also establish that the combination of gold and alcohol is crucial to carbyne formation because carbon-hydrogen bonds can be cleaved with the help of gold catalysts under the favorable thermodynamic environment provided by laser ablation in liquid and because the unique configuration of two carbon atoms in an alcohol molecule matches the elementary entity of carbyne. This laboratory synthesis of carbyne will enable the exploration of its properties and applications.

Keywords
  • carbon nanostructure
  • laser ablation in liquid
  • carbyne

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