In this work we produce atomically thin carbon nanostructures which have a disk-like shape when deposited on a substrate. These nanostructures have intermediate characteristics between a graphene island and a molecular compound and have the potentiality to be used either as they are, or to become building blocks for functional materials or to be manipulated and engineered into composite layered structures.
The carbon nanostructures are produced in a premixed ethylene/air flame with a slight excess of fuel with respect to the stoichiometric value. The size distribution of the produced compounds in aerosol phase has been measured on line by means of a differential mobility analyzer (DMA) and topographic images of the structures deposited on mica disks were obtained by Atomic Force Microscopy. Raman spectroscopy and XPS have been used to characterize their structure and the electronic and optical properties were obtained combining on-line photoionization measurements with Cyclic Voltammetry, light absorption and photoluminescence.
When deposited on the mica substrate the carbon compounds assume the shape of an atomically thin disk with in plane diameter of about 20 nm. Carbon nano-disks consist of a network of small aromatic island with in plane length, La, of about 1 nm. Raman spectra evidence a significant amount of disorder which is in a large part due to the quantum confinement in the aromatic islands. Nano-disks contain small percentage of sp3 and the O/C ratio is lower than 6%. They furthermore present interesting UV and visible photoluminescence properties.