Conducting linear chains of sulphur inside carbon nanotubes

Toshihiko Fujimori, Aarón Morelos-Gómez, Zhen Zhu, Hiroyuki Muramatsu, Ryusuke Futamura, Koki Urita, Mauricio Terrones, Takuya Hayashi, Morinobu Endo, Sang Young Hong, Young Chul Choi, David Tománek, Katsumi Kaneko

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207 Scopus citations


Despite extensive research for more than 200 years, the experimental isolation of monatomic sulphur chains, which are believed to exhibit a conducting character, has eluded scientists. Here we report the synthesis of a previously unobserved composite material of elemental sulphur, consisting of monatomic chains stabilized in the constraining volume of a carbon nanotube. This one-dimensional phase is confirmed by high-resolution transmission electron microscopy and synchrotron X-ray diffraction. Interestingly, these one-dimensional sulphur chains exhibit long domain sizes of up to 160 nm and high thermal stability (∼800 K). Synchrotron X-ray diffraction shows a sharp structural transition of the one-dimensional sulphur occurring at ∼450-650 K. Our observations, and corresponding electronic structure and quantum transport calculations, indicate the conducting character of the one-dimensional sulphur chains under ambient pressure. This is in stark contrast to bulk sulphur that needs ultrahigh pressures exceeding ∼90 GPa to become metallic.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number2162
JournalNature communications
StatePublished - 2013

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Physics and Astronomy(all)


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