Ultralight nanomaterials turned out to be harder than diamond

Scientists have found a new way to structure the carbon at the nanoscale, creating material that exceeds diamond in strength and density.

Just note that despite the fact that the tiny carbon lattice was constructed and tested in the laboratory, it is still far from practical use. But in itself, this invention will help physicists to create lighter and more durable materials in the near future. This is especially important for industries such as aerospace and aviation industries.

Analyticheskii structure is a porous structure, similar to that pictured above. They consist of three-dimensional carbon struts and connecting “brackets”. Thanks to its unique structure, these structures are incredibly strong and lightweight. Usually nanolattice based on a cylindrical frame (they are also called radiation nanopaticle). Recently, however, researchers have created a plate nanolattice – structural analogues based on tiny plates.

This measure may not seem like much, but physicists claim that it is of great importance when it comes to withstanding loads. Based on early experiments and calculations, the “plate” approach promises to increase strength by 639% and increase rigidity – for 522% compared to the classic version!

Finally, to test the result in the laboratory, the researchers used a complex process of 3D laser printing, called two-photon polymerization direct laser recording, which uses a carefully controlled chemical reaction within the laser beam for etching forms the smallest scale. The laser emits photons in a liquid resin, sensitive to UV radiation, turning it into a solid polymer of a specific shape. Then the excess resin is removed and the finished model heats up, secured in place.

According to its characteristics, the new material actually approaches the maximum theoretical stiffness and strength of materials of this type – the so-called upper limits Hanshin-of Shtrikman and Le Suquet. This is the first real experiments that proved that these theoretical limits can be in principle attainable, even though we are still far from the possibility of production of this material on an industrial scale.

Part of this incredible strength lies precisely in the tiny sample size: when such objects are compressed less than 100 nanometers – i.e. a thousand times less than the thickness of a human hair – pores and cracks in them are also becoming smaller, reducing potential defects.