Carbon is one of the most common chemical elements on our planet. Moreover, carbon is the basis of our existence, because we are, in fact, all carbon-based life forms. As the unique chemical structure of carbon allows it to easily connect with other atoms to form molecules, and thus participate in important biochemical processes. However, carbon has many applications beyond biology. For example, in electronics. And we are not talking about a widely-known graphene. Recently a group of researchers from the United States was able to create a completely new and not seen before in the form of carbon. And this is the first step towards creating an artificial brain.
Looks like a new form of carbon
The new form is, in fact, not entirely new. We are talking about the molecule cyklokarpon is a carbon compound consisting of 18 carbon atoms, which are able to form a perfect ring. About its existence, scientists knew before, and even synthesized it in lab. Only it was two problems: the first molecule cyklokarpon could only exist in the gaseous state, and the second molecule was unstable and incredibly quickly disintegrated. But, according to the editors of the journal Science, a combined team of scientists from IBM Research and the University of Oxford were the first to synthesize solid and stable form of cyklokarpon.
How to create a new form of carbon
Initially, the team wanted to “collect” cyklokarpon atom by atom and has spent on the development of this approach for several years. It was therefore decided to go the other way. To begin with, the researchers took a ring molecule consists of 24 carbon atoms associated with 6 oxygen atoms. This molecule placed on a copper substrate which is cooled to a temperature which was just a few degrees above absolute zero (-273 degrees Celsius).
See also: substituted graphene.
This effect made the original molecule to produce the atoms of carbon dioxide (that is carbon compounds and oxygen). And since oxygen atoms were only 6, and the molecule was able to lose 6 carbon atoms. Eventually left 18 carbon atoms, which formed a perfect ring.
Why do we need a new form of carbon?
Due to the high chemical activity of the resulting cyklokarpon scientists still think what to do with it, but the team recognizes that it is only in the beginning of his career and applications new connection, in fact, can be a great many.
At some point we realized that we could manage such reactions and to create even more complex molecular structure at will, — said one of the authors Katharina Kaiser, the employee of laboratory of IBM Research.
This means that, although cyklokarpon itself is reactive, it can be a building block for more complex structures. Chemists could build a new carbon chain at the molecular level. In the end, the atomic thin carbon already exists in such forms as the aforementioned graphene, which has enormous potential in the development of electronics. And with the new structure of the potential will be even greater. If you can figure out where else would be useful is a new kind of carbon — be sure to write about it in our chat in Telegram.
Of course, it is too early to say, but theoretically the electronic device, built on osonwa of cyklokapron, can transfer electrons with an unprecedented and currently not speed, says IBM researcher Leo gross.
It just opens a huge potential to create highly complex and fast neural networks and even to create an artificial brain. Most neural networks today is only the physical models of neural networks, based on a number of algorithms. More detail about this we told you in one of our past articles. But researchers believe they could use cyklokarpon and properties for modeling of neurons. And it has already started to create artificial intelligence. And artificial intelligence in the usual sense. With consciousness and autonomy in decision-making.