Ultrathin 2-D metals get their own periodic table | Science News

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Ultrathin 2-D metals get their own periodic table

Material profiles could help predict key properties of synthetic, atom-thick sheets

By
4:34pm, January 17, 2018
illustration of 2-D honeycomb

ULTRATHIN FILMS  Computer simulations reveal the properties of a little-studied group of synthetic materials: 2-D arrays of metal atoms arranged in honeycombs (illustrated), triangles or squares.

A new version of the periodic table showcases the predicted properties of 2-D metals, an obscure class of synthetic materials.

Arrayed in 1-atom-thick sheets, most of these 2-D metals have yet to be seen in the real world. So Janne Nevalaita and Pekka Koskinen, physicists at the University of Jyväskylä in Finland, simulated 2-D materials of 45 metallic elements, ranging from lithium to bismuth. For each sheet, the researchers measured the average chemical bond length, bond strength and the material’s compressibility, how difficult it is to squeeze the atoms closer together. The team then charted those features in the new periodic table.

The new work, described in the Jan. 15 Physical Review B, could help researchers identify which 2-D metals are most promising for various applications, like spurring chemical reactions or sensing gases.

These metals are similar to

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