MMaterialsgateNEWS 2016/11/23

New solution for making 2-D nanomaterials

Two-dimensional (2D) nanomaterials have been made by dissolving layered materials in liquids, according to new UCL-led research. The liquids can be used to apply the 2D nanomaterials over large areas and at low costs, enabling a variety of important future applications.

2D nanomaterials, such as graphene, have the potential to revolutionise technology through their remarkable physical properties, but their translation into real world applications has been limited due to the challenges of making and manipulating 2D nanomaterials on an industrial scale.

The new approach, published today in Nature Chemistry, produced single layers of many 2D nanomaterials in a scalable way. The researchers used the method on a wide variety of materials, including those with semiconductor and thermoelectric properties, to create 2D materials that could be used in solar cells or for turning wasted heat energy into electrical energy, for example.

"2D nanomaterials have outstanding properties and a unique size, which suggests they could be used in everything from computer displays to batteries to smart textiles. Many methods for making and applying 2D nanomaterials are difficult to scale or can damage the material, but we've successfully addressed some of these issues. Hopefully our new process will help us realise the potential of 2D nanomaterials in the future," explained study director Dr Chris Howard (UCL Physics & Astronomy).

For the study, funded by the Royal Academy of Engineering and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, the scientists inserted positively charged lithium and potassium ions between the layers of different materials including bismuth telluride (Bi2Te3), molybdenum disulphide (MoS2) and titanium disulphide (TiS2), giving each layer a negative charge and creating a 'layered material salt'.

These layered material salts were then gently dissolved in selected solvents without using chemical reactions or stirring. This gave solutions of 2D nanomaterial sheets with the same shape as the starting material but with a negative charge.

The scientists analysed the contents of the solutions using atomic force microscopy and transmission electron microscopy to investigate the structure and thickness of the 2D nanomaterials. They found that the layered materials dissolved into tiny sheets of clean, undamaged, single layers, isolated in solutions.

The team from UCL, University of Bristol, Cambridge Graphene Centre and École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, were able to demonstrate that even the 2D nanomaterial sheets, comprising millions of atoms, made stable solutions rather than suspensions.

"We didn't expect such a range of 2D nanomaterials to form a solution when we simply added the solvent to the salt - the layered material salts are large but dissolve into liquid similar to table salt in water. The fact that they form a liquid along with their negative charge, makes them easy to manipulate and use on a large scale, which is scientifically intriguing but also relevant to many industries," said first author Dr Patrick Cullen (UCL Chemical Engineering).

"We've shown they can be painted onto surfaces and, when left to dry, can arrange themselves into different tiled shapes, which hasn't been seen before. They can also be electroplated onto surfaces in much the same way gold is used to plate metals. We're looking forward to making different 2D nanomaterials using our process and trying them out in different applications as the possibilities are near endless," he concluded.

UCL Business PLC (UCLB), the technology commercialisation company of UCL has patented this research and will be supporting the commercialisation process.

Source: University College London – 21.11.2016.

Investigated and edited by:

Dr.-Ing. Christoph Konetschny, Inhaber und Gründer von Materialsgate
Büro für Material- und Technologieberatung
The investigation and editing of this document was performed with best care and attention.
For the accuracy, validity, availability and applicability of the given information, we take no liability.
Please discuss the suitability concerning your specific application with the experts of the named company or organization.

You want additional material or technology investigations concerning this subject?

Materialsgate is leading in material consulting and material investigation.
Feel free to use our established consulting services

MMore on this topic

Scientists at Rice University have discovered that an atom-thick material being eyed for flexible electronics and next-generation optical devices is more brittle than they expected.

The Rice team led by materials scientist Jun Lou tested the tensile strength of two-dimensional, semiconducting molybdenum diselenide and discovered that flaws as small as one missing atom can initiate catastrophic cracking under strain. The team's report appears this month in Advanced Materials. The finding may cause industry to look more carefully at the properties of 2-D materials before incorporating them in new technologies, he said. "It turns out not all 2-D crystals are equal," said Lou, a Rice professor of materials science and nanoengineering. "Graphene is a lot more robust compared with some of the others we're dealing with right now, like this molybdenum... more read more

New method can deposit nanomaterials onto flexible surfaces and 3-D objects

Printing has come a long way since the days of Johannes Gutenberg. Now, researchers have developed a new method that uses plasma to print nanomaterials onto a 3-D object or flexible surface, such as paper or cloth. The technique could make it easier and cheaper to build devices like wearable chemical and biological sensors, flexible memory devices and batteries, and integrated circuits. One of the most common methods to deposit nanomaterials--such as a layer of nanoparticles or nanotubes--onto a surface is with an inkjet printer similar to an ordinary printer found in an office. Although they use well-established technology and are relatively cheap, inkjet printers have limitations. They... more read more

Researchers create a system that can scale-up production of the smallest -- but among the most useful -- materials of this century

Nanoparticles - tiny particles 100,000 times smaller than the width of a strand of hair - can be found in everything from drug delivery formulations to pollution controls on cars to HD TV sets. With special properties derived from their tiny size and subsequently increased surface area, they're critical to industry and scientific research. They're also expensive and tricky to make. Now, researchers at USC have created a new way to manufacture nanoparticles that will transform the process from a painstaking, batch-by-batch drudgery into a large-scale, automated assembly line. The method, developed by a team led by Noah Malmstadt of the USC Viterbi School of Engineering and Richard... more read more

MaterialsgateNEWSLETTER

Partner of the Week

Search in MaterialsgateNEWS

MaterialsgateFAIR:
LET YOURSELF BE INSPIRED