Tin, graphene’s wonder cousin

Tin is set to become the next wonder material. Like graphene, the humble anti-corrosive metal can act as a conductor by forming a one-atom thick film called stanene. Theoretically, stanene could even allow electrons to flow without any resistance.

Using ultrafast laser material interactions1, an Indian research team, led by Sumit Saxena from the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay, synthesized a few layers of free-standing stanene to explore its potential.

“This study is the first ever reported synthesis of free-standing stanene,” says Shobha Shukla, one of the team. “It also experimentally proves that stanene has a low buckled armchair-shaped honeycomb structure.”

In 2013, physicists theoretically predicted the existence and potential of stanene and suggested it could function as a topological insulator through which electrons could not travel. Instead, electrons travel on the surface at very high speeds without colliding with other electrons and atoms as they do in most materials. This should allow stanene film to conduct electricity without dissipating energy as waste heat. read more

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