Rice University scientists recently published their findings in the journal Small about a theoretical method for using graphene to create a 2D form of diamond known as diamane.
The research team posits that by placing pressure on a specific spot of a few-layer graphene sheet, using hydrogen or fluorine to facilitate the chemical reaction, the diamondlike lattice of diamana forms across the material.
“Only at the nanoscale—in this case, at nanometer thickness—does it becomes possible for the surface chemistry alone to change the thermodynamics of the crystal, shifting the phase-change point from very high pressure to practically no pressure,” research team lead Boris Yakobson told Phys.org.
Though still theoretical, the prospect for single-crystal diamond film is an exciting one for the future of electronics. It could be used to shield nanoelectronics from heat or cold, or be doped with additional atomic-size components to operate as a transistor semiconductor or in optical electronic applications.
“In thicker films, the barrier rises quickly with the number of layers,” study co-author and former Rice postdoctoral associate Pavel Sorokin told Phys.org. “External pressure can reduce this barrier, but chemistry and pressure must play together to deliver a 2-D diamond.”