Scalable Synthesis of Crystalline One-Dimensional Carbon Nanothreads Through Modest-Pressure Polymerization of Furan

21 May 2020, Version 1
This content is a preprint and has not undergone peer review at the time of posting.


Carbon nanothreads, which are unique one-dimensional sp3-rich polymers, combine high tensile strength with flexibility owing to subnanometer widths and diamond-like cores. These extended carbon solids are constructed through pressure-induced polymerization of sp2 molecules such as benzene. Whereas a few examples of carbon nanothreads have been reported, the need for high onset pressures ( ≥ 17 GPa) to synthesize them precludes scalability and limits scope. Herein, we report the scalable synthesis of carbon nanothreads based on molecular furan, which can be achieved through ambient temperature pressure-induced polymerization with an onset reaction pressure of only 10 GPa due to its lessened aromaticity relative to other molecular precursors. When slowly compressed to 15 GPa and gradually decompressed to 1.5 GPa, a sharp six-fold diffraction pattern is observed in situ, indicating a well‐ordered crystalline material formed from liquid furan. Single-crystal X-ray diffraction of the reaction product exhibits three distinct d-spacings from 4.75 to 4.9 Å, whose size, angular spacing, and degree of anisotropy are consistent with our atomistic simulations for crystals of furan nanothreads. Further evidence for polymerization was obtained by powder XRD and Raman/IR spectroscopy. Comparison of the IR spectra with computed vibrational modes provides identification of spectral features characteristic of specific nanothreads, namely syn, anti, and syn/anti configurations. Furan therefore presents a strategic entry toward scalable carbon nanothreads.


carbon nanothreads
pressure-induced polymerization


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