Here’s a mention of the creation of a material which shows an interesting new use nickel. An article in the Times of India mentions researchers at MIT and Harvard have developed a 2-D material made from nickel and an organic compound called HITP that could be superior to graphene because it contains a bandgap property not found in graphene that makes it more suitable for use in computer chips and solar cells.
Another property of this material — which has apparently not yet been named — is that it apparently self-assembles naturally, making for easier manufacturing.
From the article:
The new compound shares graphene’s perfectly hexagonal honeycomb structure. The multiple layers of the material naturally form perfectly aligned stacks, with the openings at the centres of the hexagons all of precisely the same size, about 2 nanometres (billionths of a metre) across.
In initial experiments, the researchers studied the material in bulk form, rather than as flat sheets.
MIT assistant professor of chemistry Mircea Dinca said that makes the current results – including excellent electrical conductivity – even more impressive, since these properties should be better yet in a 2-D version of the material.
It seems we are in the very beginning stages of a revolution in materials science where we are able to manipulate matter in previously inconceivable ways to create custom materials that will possess properties suited for specific purposes.