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Mechanochemical Synthesis of Carbon Nanothread Single Crystals

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journal contribution
posted on 17.10.2017, 00:00 authored by Xiang Li, Maria Baldini, Tao Wang, Bo Chen, En-shi Xu, Brian Vermilyea, Vincent H. Crespi, Roald Hoffmann, Jamie J. Molaison, Christopher A. Tulk, Malcolm Guthrie, Stanislav Sinogeikin, John V. Badding
Synthesis of well-ordered reduced dimensional carbon solids with extended bonding remains a challenge. For example, few single-crystal organic monomers react under topochemical control to produce single-crystal extended solids. We report a mechanochemical synthesis in which slow compression at room temperature under uniaxial stress can convert polycrystalline or single-crystal benzene monomer into single-crystalline packings of carbon nanothreads, a one-dimensional sp3 carbon nanomaterial. The long-range order over hundreds of microns of these crystals allows them to readily exfoliate into fibers. The mechanochemical reaction produces macroscopic single crystals despite large dimensional changes caused by the formation of multiple strong, covalent C–C bonds to each monomer and a lack of reactant single-crystal order. Therefore, it appears not to follow a topochemical pathway, but rather one guided by uniaxial stress, to which the nanothreads consistently align. Slow-compression room-temperature synthesis may allow diverse molecular monomers to form single-crystalline packings of polymers, threads, and higher dimensional carbon networks.