Researchers at Virginia Commonwealth University and universities in China and Japan have discovered a new structural variant of carbon called “penta-graphene” – a very thin sheet of pure carbon that has a unique structure inspired by a pentagonal pattern of tiles found paving the streets of Cairo. The newly discovered material, called penta-graphene, is a single layer of carbon pentagons that resembles the Cairo tiling, and that appears to be dynamically, thermally and mechanically stable.
“The three last important forms of carbon that have been discovered were fullerene, the nanotube and graphene. Each one of them has unique structure. Penta-graphene will belong in that category,” said the paper’s senior author, Puru Jena, Ph.D., distinguished professor in the Department of Physics in VCU’s College of Humanities and Sciences.
The researchers’ paper, “Penta-Graphene: A New Carbon Allotrope,” will appear in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, and is based on research that was launched at Peking University and VCU.
Qian Wang, Ph.D., a professor at Peking University and an adjunct professor at VCU, was dining in a restaurant in Beijing with her husband when she noticed artwork on the wall depicting pentagon tiles from the streets of Cairo.
“I told my husband, “Come, see! This is a pattern composed only of pentagons,'” she said. “I took a picture and sent it to one of my students, and said, ‘I think we can make this. It might be stable. But you must check it carefully.’ He did, and it turned out that this structure is so beautiful yet also very simple. Via Penta-graphene, a new structural variant of carbon, discovered.