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Materials

Graphitic Carbon Nitride

Triazine-based structural analog of graphite and graphene shows semiconducting properties

by Elizabeth K. Wilson
June 16, 2014 | APPEARED IN VOLUME 92, ISSUE 24

NEW SEMICONDUCTOR
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Credit: Angew. Chem. Int. Ed.
Triazine-based graphitic carbon nitride exhibits semiconducting properties. C is gray, and N is blue.
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Credit: Angew. Chem. Int. Ed.
Triazine-based graphitic carbon nitride exhibits semiconducting properties. C is gray, and N is blue.

Scientists have hypothesized that a nitrogen-containing variant of graphite and graphene, known as graphitic carbon nitride, should be semiconducting, unlike its conducting plain-carbon cousins. Andrew I. Cooper and Michael J. Bojdys of the University of Liverpool, in England, and colleagues have verified the idea by synthesizing, for the first time, thin films of triazine-based graphitic carbon nitride (Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2014, DOI: 10.1002/anie.201402191). The new material is made up of sheets of triazine rings connected by nitrogen atoms, which form layers from a few sheets to several hundred sheets thick. The researchers synthesized the material by combining dicyandiamide with LiBr and KBr and subjecting the mixture to high temperatures. They then used transmission electron microscopy and atomic force microscopy to confirm the material’s structure. It has an electronic band gap between 1.6 and 2.0 eV, the team notes, which makes it potentially useful for fabricating electronic devices such as field-effect transistors and light-emitting diodes.

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