A team of researchers has used gold substrate to grow graphene's close cousin, germanene.

Germanene is made of just one layer of germanium atoms. The researchers believe that the material has good electrical and optical properties and can be used in future electronics. The team also believes that the unique properties of the material could also lead to its use in quantum computing.

Wonder material graphene is considered to be an ideal candidate for use in next-generation of electronics. However, other researchers are looking at materials beyond graphene such as "Silicine", which is made of silicon.

Researchers at the Aix-Marseille University have synthesized what they refer to as the "cousin of graphene".

The 2D material Germanene was proposed in 2009, but its production has remained elusive. The team involved in the current study said that gold can be used as substrate to "grow" germanene.

Lead author Guy Le Lay, from Aix-Marseille University, said that the research was an accident.

"Following our synthesis of graphene's other cousin, silicene, we thought it natural to try and produce germanene in the same way, by despositing germanium onto a silver substrate,' Le Lay said.

"This attempt failed, so I decided to switch to a gold substrate, having remembered my old work from my PhD thesis, in which gold was grown onto a germanium substrate. I thought it would be worth trying the other way around," Le Lay said in a news release.

Spectroscopy measurements, density functional theory (DFT) calculations along with analysis using a scanning tunnelling microscope helped the researchers confirm that the material deposited on the gold substrate was indeed germanene.

The study is published in the Journal of Physics.