Readers of the journal of the American Chemical Society have elected this graphene membrane with pores controlled at the atomic scale as the best molecule of 2018. This structure was presented in Science in a joint article by researchers from the ICN2, the CiQUS and the DIPC.
The porous graphene membrane synthesized by researchers from the Institut Català de Nanociència i Nanotecnologia (ICN2, a center of BIST and CSIC), the Centro Singular de Investigación en Química Biolóxica e Materiais Moleculares (CiQUS) and The Donostia International Physics Center (DIPC) has been elected as the molecule of the year by the readers of C&EN magazine of the American Chemical Society with 58% of the votes among 8 international candidates.
Science magazine published this milestone in April in a work directed by the ICN2 Group Leader ICREA Prof. Aitor Mugarza and CiQUS IP Dr. Diego Peña. The article explained the potential of this precious material for applications in electronics, filters and sensors. The results of this study, whose first author is Dr. César Moreno from the ICN2, conducted with the molecule synthesized at CiQUS by Dr. Manuel Vilas Varela made possible the application for a patent.
The presence of pores in graphene pores whose size, shape and density can be tuned with atomic precision at the nanoscale can modify its basic structure and make it suitable as a selective filter for extremely small substances, from greenhouse gases to salt, to biomolecules. In addition, graphene becomes a semiconductor when the space between pores is reduced to a few atoms, opening the door for its use in electronic applications, where it could be used to replace the bulkier, more rigid silicon components used today.
Applied in conjunction, these two properties are predicted to allow the development of combined filter and sensor devices which will not only sort for specific molecules, but will alternatively block or monitor their passage though the nanopores using an electric field.
The resulting graphene exhibits electrical properties akin to those of silicon which can also act as a highly-selective molecular sieve. Applied in conjunction, these two properties are predicted to allow the development of combined filter and sensor devices which will not only sort for specific molecules, but will alternatively block or monitor their passage though the nanopores using an electric field.