Benzene-derived carbon nanothreads

Thomas C. Fitzgibbons, Malcolm Guthrie, En Shi Xu, Vincent H. Crespi, Stephen K. Davidowski, George D. Cody, Nasim Alem, John V. Badding

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

238 Citations (SciVal)


Low-dimensional carbon nanomaterials such as fullerenes, nanotubes, graphene and diamondoids have extraordinary physical and chemical properties. Compression-induced polymerization of aromatic molecules could provide a viable synthetic route to ordered carbon nanomaterials, but despite almost a century of study this approach has produced only amorphous products. Here we report recovery to ambient pressure of macroscopic quantities of a crystalline one-dimensional sp3 carbon nanomaterial formed by high-pressure solid-state reaction of benzene. X-ray and neutron diffraction, Raman spectroscopy, solid-state NMR, transmission electron microscopy and first-principles calculations reveal close-packed bundles of subnanometre-diameter sp3-bonded carbon threads capped with hydrogen, crystalline in two dimensions and short-range ordered in the third. These nanothreads promise extraordinary properties such as strength and stiffness higher than that of sp2 carbon nanotubes or conventional high-strength polymers. They may be the first member of a new class of ordered sp3 nanomaterials synthesized by kinetic control of high-pressure solid-state reactions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)43-47
Number of pages5
JournalNature Materials
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Chemistry
  • General Materials Science
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering


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