Graphene With A Twist

Scientists in Japan have synthesized helical nanographene and confirmed its structure using X-ray crystallography.

AsianScientist (Apr. 4, 2018) – A team of scientists in Japan has successfully synthesized helical nanographene, which could act as induction coils or molecular springs. They published their findings in the Journal of the American Chemical Society.

Graphene is made of a hexagonal lattice of single layer carbon atoms and exhibits outstanding charge and heat transport properties. Because of its unique properties, graphene has garnered extensive research and development interest.

In the present study, a research group led by Dr. Yusuke Nakakuki of Kyoto University reported the successful synthesis of hexa-peri-hexabenzo[7]helicene, or ‘helical nanographene.’

“We processed some [tetrasubstituted alkenes] through step-by-step reactions, such as McMurry coupling, followed by stepwise photocyclodehydrogenation and aromatization. We then found that we had synthesized the foundational backbone of helical graphene,” Nakakuki explained.

The team confirmed the helicoid nature of the structure using X-ray crystallography. The researchers also found both clockwise and counter-clockwise nanographenes, which possessed unique electronic structures and photoabsorption properties.

“We will try to expand their surface area and make the helices longer. I expect to find many new physical properties as well,” said Professor Kenji Matsuda of Kyoto University, who is a senior author of the paper.

The article can be found at: Nakakuki et al. (2018) Hexa-peri-hexabenzo[7]helicene: Homogeneously π-Extended Helicene as a Primary Substructure of Helically Twisted Chiral Graphenes.


Source: Kyoto University; Photo: Shutterstock.
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