I was on the verge of writing another comment article on the subject of carbon, and more specifically that two-dimensional wonder material...you know the one, the stuff science communicators, myself included, invariably describe as resembling chicken wire fencing. Oh, come on, you can't have missed it. Graphene. Graphene!! Graphene!!!

But, then I changed my mind. It is wonderful stuff, graphene. According to the headlines it is set to revolutionize solar power, energy storage, separation technology, spectroscopy and many other areas of technology. Indeed, given the fact that I now regularly receive "get-rich-spam" touting graphene stocks and investment opportunities, I can only assume that this thinnest of thin materials has slipped well into the subconscious of the marketing collective and that it is this century's easy focus for unwary investors to be forced to focus on. Let's just hope it's not this century's tulip.

Like I say, I'm not going to talk about graphene in this comment. The material that caught my eye this time is piggybacking a ride into the media on the back of graphene, it looks a little bit like graphene, it's got the chicken wire chic (almost).  It's an electrically conductive, porous, layered material and it comprises an array of nickel ions interconnected with the organic ligand, HITP, 2,3,6,7,10,11-hexaiminotriphenylene; two HITPs for every three nickels. It is, of course a metal-organic framework, a MOF, a class of materials that we've also been writing about for many, many years, any one of which might unlock the potential of the hydrogen economy, provide new ways to trap pollutants or act as an electrocatalyst etc etc

This particular  MOF Ni3(HITP)2 exists as stacked layers, not dissimilar to the stacked graphene layers we envisage as forming graphite. Moreover, it has a linear conductivity between the temperatures of 100 and 500 Kelvin that is comparable with graphite. At room temperature its conductivity is about 40 Siemens per centimeter. Details of the novel material are provided by Mircea Dinca and colleagues at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge and Harvard University in the Journal of the American Chemical Society  [DOI: 10.1021/ja502765n].

I was rather hoping to find that as I read the original paper, that the researchers did not once mention "graphene"...but, perhaps obviously, they do. They were almost obliged to even in their title "High Electrical Conductivity in Ni3(2,3,6,7,10,11-hexaiminotriphenylene)2, a Semiconducting Metal–Organic Graphene Analogue".

I have nothing against graphene. It is a wonder material, it's just that I've typed the phrase "resembling chicken wire fencing" or some variation on that theme so many times during the last few years that I have been hoping for something topologically very different. Something with a structural mesh resembling fine fishnet stockings perhaps, or a honeycomb...oh...hold on...let's just stick with the chicken wire and not cluck too much about it.

David Bradley blogs at Sciencebase Science Blog and tweets @sciencebase, he is author of the bestselling science book "Deceived Wisdom".