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Carbyne: A new form of carbon that’s stronger than graphene

•, By Sebastian Anthony
  In fact, carbyne is about two times stronger than graphene and carbon nanotubes, which until now were the strongest materials by some margin. Carbyne has a long list of unusual and highly desirable properties that make it an interesting material for a wide range of applications, from nanoelectronic/spintronic devices to hydrogen storage to higher-density batteries.

Also known as linear acetylenic carbon, carbyne (not pictured above; that’s carbon nanotubes) is an indefinitely long chain of carbon atoms that are joined together by sequential double bonds or alternating single and triple bonds (a polyyne). Until now, very little was known about carbyne. Astronomers believe that they’ve detected carbyne in meteorites and interstellar dust, and a couple of years ago a carbyne chain of 44 atoms was synthesized in a lab, but we have very little practical knowledge of what carbyne is, how it forms, and its properties. (Read: Finally confirmed: An asteroid wiped out the dinosaurs.)

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