This highly porous substance was produced from the organic compound 2,3,6,7,10,11-hexaaminotriphenylene (sometimes called HITP because who’s going to say all that?) and nickel ions in a liquid ammonia solution. The resulting molecule is, as far as scientists are aware, entirely new to the world. It looks like a dark blue or black powder that is highly conductive thanks to the incorporation of nickel atoms in the framework. According to researchers on the project, its electrical properties are superior to all known MOFs.
Many organometals are used as insulators due to their high surface area, but making one that has high surface area and good conductivity could be a big deal for material science. One of the most obvious applications is energy storage, which is something we desperately need as mobile devices continue to require more and more power. Importantly, the conductivity of the powder changes linearly with an increase in temperature, meaning it could be used in a wide range of conditions without losing its distinctive electrical properties.
Because this material (called Ni3(HITP)2 by the researchers) has much in common with graphene structurally, material scientists suspect it will have a tunable bandgap that makes it viable as a semiconductor component. That’s all still off in the future — for now Ni3(HITP)2 is just a novel new material with good potential.