In a next iteration on the graphene theme, Peng et al. report on a new synthesis of antimonene. (DOI). In an ideal world antimonene is a single two-dimensional layer of antimony hexagons but in the harsh laboratory reality layers stick together to form multilayers and instead of one smooth layer you end up with a collection of ugly shards.
Antimonene was first reported in 2016 by Ares et al. (DOI) and produced by sonification / exfoliation of antimony in 4:1 isopropanol/water. Key characteristics: flake dimensions 1-3 square micrometers and flake height: a mixture of 4 nm multiples.
The new method is a controlled reduction of antimony trichloride - dodecylthiol with oleylamine/octadecene at 300°C and production collection by centrifugation. Key characteristics: hexagonal crystals 0.5 - 1.5 micrometer in size and heights ranging from 5 to 30 nanometre depending on the annealing time.
By comparison the same reaction with antimony oleate yields antimony oxide and the reaction with antimony acetate yields not rhombohedral antimony but tetrahedral antimony. It is suspected that clorine atoms cover the nanosheet plane, preventing tetrahedral growth, meanwhile the dodecylthiol groups occupy the edges.