Scientists in London have created a new material which is related to graphene and has the potential to improve transistors used in electronic devices.
The new material, 'triazine-based graphitic carbon nitride', or TGCN, was predicted theoretically in 1996, but this is the first time that it has been made.
Graphene is one atom thick, strong and conducts heat and electricity highly efficiently. The new TGCN material is also two-dimensional, but it has an electronic band gap, making it potentially suitable for use in transistors.
At present, transistors are made of expensive silicon that generates heat when used in electronic devices.
Scientists have been looking for a material that is carbon-based and has the electronic band gap needed for use as a semiconductor.
"This is an exciting result because there are relatively few ordered two-dimensional organic solids. Finding a new member of the 'graphene family' is very significant," said professor Andrew Cooper, from the University of Liverpool's Department of Chemistry.
Starting with the inexpensive molecule dicyandiamide, the team prepared crystals of graphitic carbon nitride, a two-dimensional layered material that is similar to graphene, but which contains nitrogen.
They combined these ingredients in a quartz tube and heated them for 62 hours at up to 600 degrees Celsius. The result is a liquid containing flakes of TGCN that can be removed by filtering or peeling them off the quartz tube.
The material is at an early stage of development and Cooper believes the next stage in the research is to explore its properties.
The research project also included scientists from Technical University Berlin, Ulm University, Aalto University, Humboldt University Berlin, University College London, University of East Anglia, University of Helsinki, and the Max Planck Institute for Colloids and Interfaces.
The study was published in the journal Angewandte Chemie.