"Creating covalent bonds between molecules requires a lot of energy. The most common way of supplying energy is to raise the temperature, but this also causes the molecules to start moving. So it won't work with self-organized molecules, since the pattern would blurr. Using light to create covalent bonds preserves the pattern and fixes it precisely as we want it", says Markus Lackinger, research group leader at the Deutsches Museum and Technical University of Munich.
The polymerisation takes place in a vacuum, which ensures that the material is not contaminated. However, the final two-dimensional polymer film is also stable under atmospheric conditions, which is an advantage for future applications. Markus Lackinger believes that the material will find many conceivable applications.
"The most obvious application is to use the material as filter or membrane, but applications that we have no idea of at the moment in entirely different contexts may appear on the horizon, also by chance. This is why basic research is so exciting", says Markus Lackinger.