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In the ongoing pursuit for materials for electronic devices, researchers turn to the natural world to find alternatives that solve the issues of cost and availability - and crab shells might offer a solution.

Researchers from Osaka University developed a new nanocarbon material intended for electronics devices, with the nanocarbon derived from chitin - a fibrous substance that comprises the cell walls of crab shells. They report their new strategy and material in the article "Pyrolyzed chitin nanofiber paper as a three-dimensional porous and defective nanocarbon for photosensing and energy storage," appearing in the Journal of Materials Chemistry C.

The new nanocarbon materials could potentially revolutionize the electronic manufacturing industry. It is particularly useful for its porous three-dimensional structures that can serve as an efficient medium for the transport of electric charges and electrolytes and reactions. Its ability to transport these materials could be further refined with the addition of imperfections - known as defects in a process very similar to doping in semiconductors - in the form of different foreign atoms like additional nitrogen.

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