Yale Scientists Make a Borophene Breakthrough

The thinnest flake, just one atom thick, has provided scientists at Yale and the Brookhaven National Laboratory with new insight into a promising material for the next generation of high-speed electronics and a host of practical applications.

Each color in this figure represents a possible orientation of borophene crystals with respect to the surface of the Cu substrate. There are six possible orientations of these domains. (Image credit: Rongting Wu)

Sheets of boron, or borophene — a close cousin of graphene, a material 200 times stronger than steel that promised to revolutionize electronics — were first theorized in the mid-1990s, but synthesizing the material has defied scientists for almost a decade.

These composite materials, atomically thin with the greatest surface-to-mass ratios, are valuable for solar cells and energy storage, and are also accelerating the development of the fastest and smallest transistors, new touch screens, batteries, and water filters.

The challenge has been how to turn these naturally abundant elements into technologically useful materials.

While the potential electronic and elastic properties of two-dimensional (2D) boron crystals has excited the interest of scientists in the field, recent production of borophene flakes were too small for device fabrication, their “tunable” structure remaining unproven.

In a study published Dec. 3 in Nature Nanotechnology, scientists at Yale’s Energy Sciences Institute have taken the next step in modifying the crystal structure of borophene by growing large, device-size crystals up to 100 square micrometers in size on copper surfaces.

Source : Yale University