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.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Materials Science(all)
- Condensed Matter Physics
- Mechanics of Materials
- Mechanical Engineering