A structurally stable crystalline carbon allotrope is predicted by means of the first-principles calculations. This allotrope can be derived by substituting each atom in diamond with a carbon tetrahedron, and possesses the same space group Fd3̄m as diamond, which is thus coined as T-carbon. The calculations on geometrical, vibrational, and electronic properties reveal that T-carbon, with a considerable structural stability and a much lower density 1.50g/cm3, is a semiconductor with a direct band gap about 3.0 eV, and has a Vickers hardness 61.1 GPa lower than diamond but comparable with cubic boron nitride. Such a form of carbon, once obtained, would have wide applications in photocatalysis, adsoption, hydrogen storage, and aerospace materials.

http://dx.doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevLett.106.155703