Products + Technology, Research

Look Out Graphene, Other 2D Nanosheets Are In Development

Look Out Graphene, Other 2D Nanosheets Are In Development

Graphene has long been hailed as the greatest material discovery with limitless potential. The reality is that graphene has seen some limited applications in electronics, solar panels, displays, clothing, helmets, bullet-proof armor, aircrafts, and shoes. I’ve written about graphene’s emergence in luminaire heat sinks and housings here. There are two new nanomaterial sheets making headlines:


Researchers at Linköping University in Sweden have successfully created goldene, a sheet of gold that’s only one atom thick. Like graphene, this changes the material’s properties from its 3D form. Goldene becomes a semiconductor, while regular gold is one of the best conductors. in its 2D form, the atoms get two “free bonds.” This means it could eventually find use as a catalyst for converting carbon dioxide, producing hydrogen or valuable chemicals, or purifying water. And of course, electronics could benefit, even if it just means less gold is needed to make them.

The researchers say they plan to continue investigating its properties, potential applications, and whether other precious metals could be flattened into two dimensions in similar ways. The research was published in the journal Nature Synthesis. An AI-generated conceptual visualization of goldene is above.

Tungsten Semi-Carbide Nanosheets

Researchers have created tungsten semi-carbide nanosheets that expand against the direction of stretch, achieving a 40% increase in size. This counter-intuitive breakthrough, achieved through plasma physics, promises new applications in strain-sensitive technologies and stretchable electronics.

Noah Stocek, a PhD student collaborating with Western University physicist Giovanni Fanchini, has developed the new nanomaterial that demonstrates this unusual stretching phenomenon. Working at Interface Science Western, home of the Tandetron Accelerator Facility, Stocek, and Fanchini formulated two-dimensional nanosheets of tungsten semi-carbide (or W2C, a chemical compound containing equal parts tungsten and carbon atoms) which when stretched in one direction, expand perpendicular to the applied force. This structural design is known as auxetics.

There are many possible applications for these W2C nanosheets, beginning with a new type of strain gauge. These commercially available gauges are a standard way to measure expansion and stretch in everything from airplane wings to household plumbing. The new nanomaterial also becomes more electrically conductive and that opens the door for possible uses in things like sensors, or any device that detects events or changes in the environment and sends the information to other electronics. Another application is embedding the material right in stretchable electronics, like wearable technology, so that they have more conductivity. The original research paper is in Materials Horizons.

Top image: New Atlas / DALL-E. AI-generated conceptualization of goldene

Image: Artist’s conceptualization of tungsten semi-carbide nanosheets.

Image: Artist’s conceptualization of tungsten semi-carbide nanosheets.


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David Shiller
David Shiller is the Publisher of LightNOW, and President of Lighting Solution Development, a North American consulting firm providing business development services to advanced lighting manufacturers. The ALA awarded David the Pillar of the Industry Award. David has co-chaired ALA’s Engineering Committee since 2010. David established MaxLite’s OEM component sales into a multi-million dollar division. He invented GU24 lamps while leading ENERGY STAR lighting programs for the US EPA. David has been published in leading lighting publications, including LD+A, enLIGHTenment Magazine, LEDs Magazine, and more.


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