Aix-Marseille University Researchers Produce Germanium Allotrope Germanene

Aix-Marseille University researchers have created a two dimensional material germanene using gold substrate. Germanene is formed from single layer of germanium atoms, much like graphene, which is formed from single layer of carbon atoms.

Graphene has excellent conductivity and strength. Germanene was first introduced in 2009 and was suggested as a game changer in the electronics industry. However, during the past five years, research teams could not advance much in mass production or use of germanene.

The research team has published a paper with details of their project in German Physical Society’s New Journal of Physics. Germanene is flexible as rubber but has been recorded as stronger material than steel. Germanene was suggested as substitute to graphene in 2009. Many research teams across the world are working on production of graphene in industrial scale.

Institute of Physics has published the research online. Germanene is produced by depositing germanium atoms onto a substrate. Researchers have reported success in synthesizing germanene on a platinum substrate.

Professor Guy Le Lay from Aix-Marseille University informed that their team has managed to use gold as substrate to produce germanene. Le Lay added, “Following our synthesis of graphene’s other cousin, silicene, we thought it natural to try and produce germanene in the same way, by despositing germanium onto a silver substrate.” However, germanene could not be produced on silver substrate.

Using scanning tunneling microscope, the research team confirmed germanene with 2D honeycomb structure. Professor Angel Rubio from the University of the Basque Country was also part of the research team. The new materials can bring revolution in the electronics industry and offer a boost to quantum computing. The only bottleneck is the high cost of industrial-scale production.

“The synthesis of germanene is just the very beginning of a long quest. Indeed, success in the synthesis was not easy to achieve and quite demanding,” said Professor Le Lay.

Global Technology