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The new single-bonded nitrogen phase could serve as a high-energy storage material, report Max Planck researchers in Mainz, Germany
Nitrogen, the major constituent of air, usually consists of inert molecules where two atoms are strongly triple-bonded. Now, researchers of the Max Planck Institute for Chemistry have synthesised a polymeric cubic form of nitrogen where all atoms are connected with single covalent bonds, similar to carbon atoms in diamond. This cubic phase has not been observed previously in any element. It possesses unique properties such as energy capacity: more than five times that of the most powerful explosives (Nature Materials, August 2004, published online 4 July 2004).