Recently, XJTU researcher Zhang Jinying and his team members from the Center of Nanomaterials for Renewable Energy of the State Key Laboratory of Electrical Insulation and Power Equipment of the School of Electrical Engineering have successfully synthesized a previously predicted but experimentally unobserved carbon allotrope, T-carbon. They achieved the transformation from sp2 hybridization to sp3 hybridization and synthesized this metastable carbon structure by means of the picosecond pulsed-laser irradiation of a multi-walled carbon nanotube (MWCNT) suspension in methanol solvent, which was far from being in a thermodynamic equilibrium state. Further study on the detailed structure showed that the hollow carbon nanotubes were transformed into solid carbon nanorods under femtosecond laser irradiation, and the connection between carbon atoms of carbon nanorods was fully consistent with that of the theoretically predicted T-carbons, indicating that this new carbon allotrope was successfully synthesized. However, the chemical reaction process in the experiment involves the three phases of gas-liquid-solid, so the transformation mechanism remains to be explored.
In this research, laser experiments were performed by Wang Wenjun's research team of the XJTU School of Mechanical Engineering, electron microscope measurements were performed by Professor Jia Chunlin's research team of the XJTU School of the Electronic and Information Engineering, and theoretical simulations were conducted by Su Haibin's research team of Nanyang Technological University in Singapore.
The above findings were published on Nature Communications with the title of “Pseudo-topotactic conversion of carbon nanotubes to T-carbon nanowires in methanol under irradiation of picosecond laser”.
Link to this paper: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-017-00817-9