ASU scientists explore carbon’s next frontier with Keck Foundation funding

beaker with liquidArizona State University sustainability scientist Peter Buseck is part of a team that recently received a $1 million award from the Keck Foundation with additional ASU matching funds to lead an ASU effort to further explore carbon’s potential. Chemists have more recently dreamed of harnessing the potential of carbon’s next frontier — an exotic yet elusive pure form called carbyne. Carbyne is a chainlike material proposed to be stronger than diamond, more conductive than copper, and even reportedly found in stardust and meteorites. But for the past few decades, many scientists have staked various claims of making carbyne in the lab — only to be proven wrong in the waking light of day by the rigorous work of the scientific community, including contributions from Buseck, who has a joint appointment in the School of Molecular Sciences and the School of Earth and Space Exploration. “If carbyne existed as a solid, which was in vigorous dispute, it would be spectacular since it would be a new carbon allotrope, one predicted to have incredible strength and other remarkable properties,” said Buseck. Carbyne is thought to be strong because it is made up of chains of alternating triple and single bonds, giving it great strength. But the triple-bonded carbyne is also very reactive, and not likely to be stable enough to make in the lab. Read the full story on ASU Now.