Since the discovery of graphene, a two-dimensional modification of carbon, world science has moved far enough to get its competitors. Two-dimensional phosphorus, molybdenum disulphide, chromium triodide, ultra-thin gallium modification, and all of them have their own wonderful properties. One of the newcomers to this family has recently been the “hematin” material obtained by Brazilian scientists.
Hematin is obtained from hematite, a natural variety of iron ore, the process technology is called liquid-phase exfoliation. As a result, the Brazilians in their hands was a layer of a combination of iron and oxygen with a thickness of only 3 atoms. That is, almost two-dimensional form, which has its own interesting features. For example, unlike the starting material, hematin became a ferromagnet.
The most intriguing feature of the new material is its photocatalytic abilities. Hematin absorbs sunlight from the ultraviolet boundary of the spectrum to yellow-orange, and because of the small thickness of the plate, electrons and protons do not dissipate in the material. This provides excellent conditions for the separation of water into hydrogen and oxygen, especially in combination with nanotubes of titanium dioxide. And hematin is a good candidate for the role of an ultrathin magnet for spintrons.
Further studies of the properties of hematin in full swing. And scientists are inclined to think that the main thing in the discovery of hematin is not the material itself, but the fact that it was obtained. This gives scientists the confidence that they will be able to find or create many other two-dimensional materials from ordinary substances, but with their own extraordinary properties.