Calculations predict new form of phosphorus


Earlier this year we learned that black phosphorus – the graphite-like layered hexagonal form of phosphorus – can be exfoliated to make two-dimensional phosphorene. Now researchers in the US have predicted the existence of ‘blue phosphorus’– another layered phase – using computational models. Their calculations suggest blue phosphorus could have a similar structure and properties to black, and may be ideal for use in nano-electronic devices.

Black and blue phosphorus are both hexagonal allotropes of phosphorus made of stacked two-dimensional layers. But a single layer of blue phosphorus bears a closer resemblance to graphene – the layers have ‘zig-zag’ ridges rather than the deeper ‘armchair’ ridges of black phosphorus, making them slightly flatter. Calculations performed by Zhen Zhu and David Tomanek at Michigan State University showed that both forms are equally stable, but blue phosphorus may have superior electrical properties, such as a wider bandgap and higher electron mobility, which would make it better suited to applications in two-dimensional electronics. Like black phosphorus, it should be possible to exfoliate blue phosphorus to produce two-dimensional layers.

Blue phosphorus has not been synthesised yet, but the team suggest it could be made by chemical vapour deposition onto a substrate with hexagonal symmetry, or by depositing black phosphorus onto a stepped substrate.


Related Content

Chemistry World podcast - March 2014

4 March 2014 Podcast | Monthly

news image

This month, synthetic DNA bases and chemistry using smartphones

Mouse model to assess chemical exposure

14 November 2014 News and Analysis

news image

Outbred mice can be used predict how human's will respond to harmful chemicals with examination of chromosomal damage

Most Read

Magnetic resonance taken to the limit

21 November 2014 Research

news image

Technique can read the spin of a single nucleus opening up a new way to investigate proteins and complex molecules

Boron and beryllium finally shake hands

24 November 2014 Research

news image

Never-before-seen bond observed between periodic table neighbours

Most Commented

A year of water splitting from one device

21 November 2014 Research

news image

Coating protects electrodes from corrosion to keep photoelectrochemical cell running

Nanostripe controversy in new twist

24 November 2014 Research

news image

Creator of striped nanoparticles insists questions over structures have already been answered and accuses critics of a 'perso...