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Twisting graphene into spirals

26/04/2018 Osaka University

Japanese researchers synthesize helical nanographene

Japan -- It's probably the smallest spring you've ever seen.

Researchers from Kyoto University and Osaka University report for the first time in the Journal of the American Chemical Society the successful synthesis of hexa-peri-hexabenzo[7]helicene, or 'helical nanographene'.

These graphene constructs previously existed only in theory, so successful synthesis offers promising applications from nanoscale induction coils, to molecular springs for use in nanomechanics.

Graphene -- a hexagonal lattice of single layer carbon atoms exhibiting outstanding charge and heat transport properties -- has garnered extensive research and development interest.

Helically twisted graphenes have a spiral shape. Successful synthesis of this type of graphene could have major applications, but its model compounds have never been reported. And while past research has gotten close, resulting compounds have never exhibited expected properties.

"We processed some basic chemical compounds through step-by-step reactions, such as McMurry coupling, followed by stepwise photocyclodehydrogenation and aromatization," explains first author Yusuke Nakakuki. "We then found that we had synthesized the foundational backbone of helical graphene."

The team confirmed the helicoid nature of the structure through X-ray crystallography, also finding both clockwise and counter-clockwise nanographenes. Further tests showed that the electronic structure and photoabsorption properties of this compound are much different from previous ones.

"This helical nanographene is the first of its kind," concludes lead author Kenji Matsuda. "We will try to expand their surface area and make the helices longer. I expect to find many new physical properties as well."

The paper "Hexa-peri-hexabenzo[7]helicene: Homogeneously π-Extended Helicene as a Primary Substructure of Helically Twisted Chiral Graphenes" appeared 19 March 2018 in the Journal of the American Chemical Society, with doi: 10.1021/jacs.7b13412


Authors: Yusuke Nakakuki, Takashi Hirose, Hikaru Sotome, Hiroshi Miyasaka, and Kenji Matsuda

Funding: Japan Society for the Promotion of Science
Attached files
  • Fig.1. Schenmatic concept of nanographenes. (credit: OsakaUniversity and Kyoto University)
  • Fig.2. Chemical structure of the nanographene synthesized in the present work. (credit: Osaka University and Kyoto University)
  • Fig.3. Molecular structure of the nanographene synthesized in the present work (movie).(credit: Osaka University and Kyoto University)
26/04/2018 Osaka University
Regions: Asia, Japan
Keywords: Science, Chemistry, Applied science, Nanotechnology

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