Novel materials with great optical and electronic promise seem to have emerged more and more frequently in recent years. The latest on that list is a crystalline form of the element phosphorus, known as black phosphorus. Researchers from the University of Minnesota have tested ultrathin black phosphorus films, just 20 atomic layers thick, and have demonstrate high-speed data communication in nanoscale optical circuits. They suggest this is a vast improvement on the efficiency of comparable devices that used one of those earlier wonder materials, graphene. Of course, black phosphorus has been known for more than a century, but its optical and semiconductor properties have only been recognised and now realized practically very recently.
Is black P the "next" wonder material?