As far as two-dimensional materials go, Graphene is one of the most known out there. It has an incredible amount of strength despite having only one layer of carbon atoms. However, Gallenene could soon steal the spotlight.
What is Gallenene
Gallenene is a two dimensional metal made out of soft gallium. This metal could see a number of highly successful uses in the electronic industry. The thing layer of conductive material could be used for devices that are very small or very thin, like electronic watches or smartphones.
How is Gallenene extracted?
In order to use this material, researchers first had to find a way to extract it from molten gallium. This process turned out to be a particularly challenging one. The team of researchers that did this process came from the Indian Institute of Science and Rice University. They found that using vapor phase methods of extraction were not successful in extracting Gallenene because gallium melts at 30 degrees Celsius so the temperature of the metal raised some problems.
Another problem with Gallium is that it oxidizes very quickly and the bonds between its layers are too strong for scientists to remove the layer of Gallenene as easily as it is to remove Graphene with a sheet of adhesive tape from graphite.
What was the solution?
The team of researchers decided to heat gallium to precisely 29.7 degrees Celsius and then drip the metal onto a glass slide, where they were able to quickly press a piece of silicon dioxide on it. The silicon dioxide managed to lift a couple of layers of Gallenene.
Their findings were published in Science Advances, a scientific journal.
Future uses for Gallenene
Scientists found out that this 2D material can best be used in the process of nanoscale electronics, since there are a limited number of metals that can be used there.