Carbon Nanofoam Produced By Greek, Australian and Russian Physicists - New Technology

A new form of carbon has been made by physicists from Greece, Australia and Russia. The material is a nanofoam of carbon clusters with the lowest density recorded for a solid, 2 milligrams per cubic centimetre. The material is also the first form of pure carbon to display ferromagnetism at room temperature and shows promise for use in spintronic applications and in medical imaging.

The team that produced the new material included John Giapintzakis of the University of Crete, Andrei Rode of the Australian National University in Canberra and other colleagues at the Ioffe Physico-Technical Institute in St Petersburg. They produced the material by blasting a high-power ultrafast laser onto an extremely pure glassy carbon target in an argon environment. The carbon nano-foam that was produced was collected in a fused silica tube.

The nano-foam has randomly interconnected carbon clusters with average diameters of between 6 to 9 nanometres in a web-like structure and was semiconducting in a band gap of 0.5 to 0.7 electronvolts. It also had a strong permanent magnetic moment at room temperature which disappeared within a few hours.

Posted 23rd March 2004

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