A team of researchers working at Trinity College in Ireland has found a way to produce black phosphorus in bulk, theoretically paving the way for its use in real applications. They have written a paper describing their technique and have uploaded it to the preprint server arXiv.
For several years, material scientists, chemists, physicists and others researchers have been excitedly working to find a way to create graphene in bulk and to force it to have a band gap. Thus far, that work has not led to a breakthrough that would allow the so-called miracle material to be used for much in the way of real world applications. In this new effort, the research team has moved their focus to black phosphorus (aka phosphorene) which has many of the same beneficial traits as graphene, but currently has, at least theoretically, a way to induce a band gap. Up till now, however, making black phosphorus was done the same way as making graphene, e.g. using sticky tape to pull layers off a bulk sample—that is obviously not a good way to produce material suitable for commercial applications. Now it appears the team in Ireland has found another way—one that is simple, inexpensive and allows for separating out different sized sheets.
Read more at: Phys.org