Some of the most famous scientific discoveries happened by accident. From Teflon and the microwave oven to penicillin, scientists trying to solve a problem sometimes find unexpected things. This is exactly how we created phosphorene nanoribbons – a material made from one of the universe’s basic building blocks, but that has the potential to revolutionise a wide range of technologies.
We’d been trying to separate layers of phosphorus crystals into two-dimensional sheets. Instead, our technique created tiny, tagliatelle-like ribbons one single atom thick and only 100 or so atoms across, but up to 100,000 atoms long. We spent three years honing the production process, before announcing our findings.
The two-dimensional ribbons have a number of remarkable properties. Their width to length ratio is similar to the cables that span the Golden Gate Bridge.
Their incredibly uniform but manipulable width allows their properties, such as whether and how they conduct electricity, to be fine-tuned. They are also incredibly flexible, which means that they can follow the contours of any surfaces they’re put on perfectly, and even be twisted.
Image Credit: Phosphorene nanoribbons. Oliver Payton/University of Bristol
Thanks to Heinz V. Hoenen. Follow him on twitter: @HeinzVHoenen
News This Week
For almost two decades, Stanford electrical engineering professor Krishna Shenoy and neuroscientists in his Neural Prosthetics Translational Laboratory have been working on implantable brain sensors that allow them to record and decipher the electrical [...]
In an incredible first, scientists have captured the world's first actual photo of quantum entanglement - a phenomenon so strange, physicist Albert Einstein famously described it as 'spooky action at a distance'. The image [...]
A team at Flinders University in South Australia has developed a new vaccine believed to be the first human drug in the world to be completely designed by artificial intelligence (AI). While drugs have [...]
Humans routinely send spacecraft into orbit to ensure services on the ground and to explore other planets. This extraordinary ability comes with a great responsibility: our space activity risks contaminating the space surrounding the [...]
Digital information technology has made information readily accessible to practically anyone, anytime and anywhere. This has had a profound effect in shaping all aspects of our society from industrial manufacturing, to distribution, to the [...]
The ways in which the communities of bacteria living within our bodies influence our overall well-being are becoming better understood all the time, and with that better understanding comes potential new ways to intervene [...]
Cancer breakthrough: Scientists discover a new Achilles’ Heel of tumors that causes them to self-destruct
Scientists have identified the Achilles' Heel of cancerous tumors, forcing the disease-spreading cells to over-stress and self-destruct. Experiments showed blocking a specific protein that fuels tumors kills them off. The technique worked on a [...]
Researchers at Oregon State University have developed an improved technique for using magnetic nanoclusters to kill hard-to-reach tumors. Magnetic nanoparticles - tiny pieces of matter as small as one-billionth of a meter - [...]
Plant leaves have a natural superpower — they’re designed with water repelling characteristics. Called a superhydrophobic surface, this trait allows leaves to cleanse themselves from dust particles. Inspired by such natural designs, a [...]
In a grainy black-and-white video shot at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota, a patient sits in a hospital bed, his head wrapped in a bandage. He’s trying to recall 12 words for a memory [...]
From Frontiers Forum: How can research translate to R&D? Or a whole new business venture? In a panel session at Science Unlimited 2019, Holtzbrinck Publishing Group CEO Stefan von Holtzbrinck, Life Biosciences CEO [...]
More and more security holes are appearing in cryptocurrency and smart contract platforms, and some are fundamental to the way they were built. Early last month, the security team at Coinbase noticed something strange [...]
“The most crucial result of this work is the correlation between form and function in supercapacitor materials,” states first author Dina Ibrahim Abouelamaiem. She elaborates that “our research is driven by the need for [...]