Researchers from Kyoto University and Osaka University report for the successful synthesis of helical nanographene. These graphene constructs previously existed only in theory, so successful synthesis may offer applications like nanoscale induction coils and molecular springs for use in nanomechanics.
"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."