IBM Shows Olympic Graphene Molecule


The smallest logo, for the greatest games on Earth – brought to life by IBM Research in Zurich

IBM Research has got into the Olympic spirit, helping to create images of the smallest Olympic logo that can ever be made: a graphene molecule consisting of five carbon rings.

Olympicene, the smallest molecule containing five carbon rings, was synthesised at the University of Warwick, after the project was suggested by the Royal Society of Chemistry’s vice president Antony Williams. The work was done by Anish Mistry, a student working with PhD student Ben Moreton.

Five ring circus

After the job was done, Dr Leo Gross and Fabian Mohn of the Physics of Nanoscale Systems group at IBM Research in Zurich used atomic force microscopy (AFM) to create massively enlarged images showing the positions of carbon atoms in the compound.

The whole story is given on Antony Williams’s ChemConnector blog, and Anish Mistry’s synthesis is detailed here.

olympicene diagramOlympicene is a graphene – a planar molecule consisting of carbon rings – much like a layer of graphite. Graphenes can be used to crate very thin flexible highly-conductive layers, giving them potential applications in batteries  and LED displays. IBM has demonstrated technology being developed towards graphene transistors. Large graphene molecules are also self-cooling giving them potential in low energy devices for Green IT.

Olympicene may well have interesting properties, but its most interesting attribute at this stage is its looks. Well done to Ben Moreton for synthesising it, and to the IBM Zurich team for getting the pictures out in time for London’s sporting extravaganza.

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