Around 12 years ago, scientists thought that two-dimensional materials were impossible. Then a team in the UK discovered a lattice material known as graphene that was just one atom thick, and everything changed. But even though we’ve now accepted that 2D solids can exist, it’s generally thought that such thin membranes would never hold in a liquid state. But now physicists have conducted a computer simulation that predicts a brand new phase of matter: one-atom-thick 2D liquid. And their research suggests that it could theoretically exist when liquid gold stretches across the tiny pores of graphene. Think of it like a soap film over a solid bubble blower.
“Here the role of graphene is similar to circular rings through which children blow soap bubbles,” lead researcher Pekka Koskinen from the University of Jyväskylä in Finland told the press. “The liquid state is possible when the edge of graphene pore stretches the metallic membrane and keeps it steady. “So while the gold atoms flow and change places, the surrounding graphene “retains the planarity of the liquid membrane,” the press release explains.
It’s important to note that this flat liquid hasn’t been experimentally confirmed as yet, but the prediction pushes the boundaries of the different phases we think matter can exist in. And further testing could change the way we think about materials forever. Source: Researchers predict the existence of a liquid that’s as flat as graphene