Scientists from Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology (UNIST) and Pohang University of Science and Technology in South Korea synthesised nitrogenated 2D crystals using a simple chemical reaction in liquid phase.

Introducing foreign elements (there are not carbon) into graphene's carbon lattice structure is a known way of developing other 2D crystals. Nitrogen has a suitable atomic size and structure to fit into a strong network of carbon atoms, by creating bonds in which electrons are shared by the whole network.

The 2D nitrogen-laden crystal is claimed by the researchers to rival both graphene and silicon as a semiconductor material, to potentially be used for sensors, catalysis and active switching devices in electronics. They verified the structure by atomic-resolution scanning tunnelling microscopy imaging and confirmed its semiconducting nature by testing it with a FET (field effect transistor).