Researchers at Rice University have taken the first step in eclipsing graphene's world-dominance as the strongest material ever invented. Diamonds and graphene will both be taking a back seat to what these researchers are now theorizing will be the world's next material to beat: carbyne.
Not exactly a new material, carbyne has been around for decades. What's new about the substance is that, when under stress, carbyne exhibits some pretty intense properties. For instance: it's impossible to stretch, but remains flexible. And bending carbyne reveals another one of its super powers. By bending carbyne into an arc, you alter its electrical bandgap, which could help in the creation of a new generation ofnano-scale, bio-compatible implants. So carbyne isn't just a super-powered material, it could actually give us super powers of our own.
All this sounds pretty unbelievable, and to be fair carbyne does have a drawback — if we try and construct a sheet of it, the stuff could explode. So that's bad, but it's a hurdle that we'll have to surmount if we want to dethrone graphene.