Forming Black Phosphorous By Intercalation

Black phosphorous is an allotrope of phosphorous that is stable at room temperature unlike it’s brothers. It resembles graphite in many ways as each phosphorous forms three bonds and the overall shape of the allotrope is distorted layer. A key difference is that while graphite is a conductor black phosphorous is only a semiconductor. This similarity to graphite made scientists consider whether a graphene like structure of phosphorous could be formed; in other words just a couple of layers of black phosphorous. Normally this is done by bulk exfoliation, quite literally peeling layers off a lump of black phosphorous. But now a new method has been developed using liquid exfoliation also known as intercalation. This means the liquid is introduced in a way that means it gathers between the layers of black phosphorous and separates them with much greater finesse than simply ripping the layer off. This means that mono-layer black phosphorous formed this way has an almost perfect crystal structure that is extremely useful in the realm of voltaics and  microelectronics. The fact that this substance is a semiconductor gives it much greater applicability in circuitry than graphene (which is better for wires) and a new and improved method of producing it is surely a great advancement.


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