|Posted: Aug 25, 2016|
Graphene under pressure(Nanowerk News) Small balloons made from one-atom-thick material graphene can withstand enormous pressures, much higher than those at the bottom of the deepest ocean, scientists at The University of Manchester report.
|This is due to graphene’s incredible strength – 200 times stronger than steel.|
|The graphene balloons routinely form when placing graphene on flat substrates and are usually considered a nuisance and therefore ignored. The Manchester researchers, led by Professor Irina Grigorieva, took a closer look at the nano-bubbles and revealed their fascinating properties.|
|These bubbles could be created intentionally to make tiny pressure machines capable of withstanding enormous pressures. This could be a significant step towards rapidly detecting how molecules react under extreme pressure.|
|Writing in Nature Communications ("Universal shape and pressure inside bubbles appearing in van der Waals Heterostructures,"), the scientists found that the shape and dimensions of the nano-bubbles provide straightforward information about both graphene’s elastic strength and its interaction with the underlying substrate.|
|The researchers found such balloons can also be created with other two-dimensional crystals such as single layers of molybdenum disulfide (MoS2) or boron nitride.|
|They were able to directly measure the pressure exerted by graphene on a material trapped inside the balloons, or vice versa.|
|To do this, the team indented bubbles made by graphene, monolayer MoS2 and monolayer boron nitride using a tip of an atomic force microscope and measured the force that was necessary to make a dent of a certain size.|
|These measurements revealed that graphene enclosing bubbles of a micron size creates pressures as high as 200 megapascals, or 2,000 atmospheres. Even higher pressures are expected for smaller bubbles.|
|Ekaterina Khestanova, a PhD student who carried out the experiments, said: “Such pressures are enough to modify the properties of a material trapped inside the bubbles and, for example, can force crystallization of a liquid well above its normal freezing temperature’.|
|Sir Andre Geim, a co-author of the paper, added: “Those balloons are ubiquitous. One can now start thinking about creating them intentionally to change enclosed materials or study the properties of atomically thin membranes under high strain and pressure.”|
|Source: University of Manchester|
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