A group of researchers from Massachusetts Institute of Technology identified different physical and chemical properties of when a given number of atoms is removed from the atomic lattice and catalogued for reference.
The atomically thin materials such as graphene are extensively researched and studied, however one area that has eluded the focus are the minuscule defects that remain in the 2-D sheets of materials. MIT researchers produced a catalog of the exact sizes and shapes of holes that would most likely be observed when a given number of atoms is removed from the atomic lattice.
The findings were published in the journal Nature Materials in a paper by graduate student Ananth Govind Rajan, professors of chemical engineering Daniel Blankschtein and Michael Strano, and four others at MIT, Lockheed Martin Space, and Oxford University.
Michael Strano, professor at MIT and lead researcher of the study, said: “It’s been a longstanding problem in the graphene field, what we call the isomer cataloging problem for nanopores. For those who want to use graphene or similar two-dimensional, sheet-like materials for applications including chemical separation or filtration. We just need to understand the kinds of atomic defects that can occur,” compared to the vastly larger number that are never seen.”
The team used chemical graph theory, accurate electronic-structure calculations, and high-resolution scanning transmission electron microscopy to capture images of the defects of the atoms. They called the defects as ‘antimolecules’ and explained it in terms of the shape that would be formed by the atoms that have been removed.