A new research paper published on Arxiv describes in detail the properties of Carbyne, a supermaterial that is stronger than graphene and diamond, and that can be synthesized and stabilized at room temperature. Carbyne is stiffer than anything that scientists have seen before, and it could potentially have a wide variety of applications in nanomechanical systems and electromechanical devices.
The paper, authored by Mingjie Liu, Vasilii I. Artyukhov, Hoonkyung Lee, Fangbo Xu, and Boris I. Yakobson from Rice University, shows the supermaterial as a chain of carbon atoms linked by alternative triple and single bonds or by consecutive double bonds. They have calculated and written down Carbyne’s physical and chemical properties – mechanical response to tension, bending, torsion deformations and atomic structure. The research show that, in order to break a single atomic chain within the material’s molecular structure, a force of approximately 10 nN (nanonewtons)- a strength which surpasses that of any other known material. It’s torsional stiffness can be zero but can be ‘switched on’ by appropriate functional groups at the ends, according to the paper.
Carbyne could have an impressively wide application. Carbyne and Carbyne-based nano-structures could revolutionize nanotechnology and could be used in nanomechnical systems (nanocoatings, composites, nanotubes, etc) and opto-electromechanical devices (microlenses, sensors) as an incredibly strong and lightweight material.