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A team of scientists from the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory, Northwestern University and Stony Brook University has, for the first time, created a two-dimensional sheet of boron -- a material known as borophene.

Scientists have been interested in two-dimensional materials for their unique characteristics, particularly involving their electronic properties. Borophene is an unusual material because it shows many metallic properties at the nanoscale even though three-dimensional, or bulk, boron is nonmetallic and semiconducting.

Because borophene is both metallic and atomically thin, it holds promise for possible applications ranging from electronics to photovoltaics, said Argonne nanoscientist Nathan Guisinger, who led the experiment. "No bulk form of elemental boron has this metal-like behavior," he said.

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