Since the discovery of graphene, a two-dimensional modification of carbon, the world's science has advanced far enough to have its competitors. Two-dimensional phosphorus, molybdenum disulfide, chromium triodide, ultrafine modification of gallium have been created, and all of them have their own wonderful properties. One of the newcomers to this family recently was the "hematin" material obtained by Brazilian scientists.
Hematin is obtained from hematite, a naturally occurring type of iron ore, a process called liquid exfoliation. As a result, the Brazilians in their hands ended up with a layer of a combination of iron and oxygen only 3 atoms thick. That is, an almost two-dimensional form, which has its own interesting features. For example, unlike the original material, hematin has become a ferromagnet.
The most intriguing property of the new material is its photocatalytic ability. Hematin absorbs sunlight from the ultraviolet border of the spectrum to yellow-orange, while due to the small thickness of the plate, electrons and protons are not scattered in the material. This provides excellent conditions for separating water into hydrogen and oxygen, especially in combination with titanium dioxide nanotubes. Hematin is also a good candidate for a superfine magnet for spintrons.
Further study of the properties of hematin is in full swing. And scientists are inclined to think that the main thing in the discovery of hematin is not the material itself, but precisely the fact that it was obtained. This gives scientists confidence that they will be able to find or create many other two-dimensional materials from ordinary substances, but with their own extraordinary properties.