What is Borophene?
Borophene is one of the newest innovations in the two-dimensional material market and could have many uses in the future.
There has been an increasing interest in 2D materials in recent history. It started with graphene in the early 2000s and borophene is one of the latest.
The material itself wasn’t synthesised until 2015, but it was first simulated in the 90s to see how boron atoms would form a monolayer. To synthesise the material, boron atoms were condensed onto a pure silver surface.
The arrangement of silver atoms makes boron form a similar structure, but there can be gaps in it, giving the material a unique structure.
Borophene has been found to have a lot of benefits, including its strength, flexibility and is a superconductor. Not only that, but it conducts both electricity and heat, and its purpose can be altered depending on the structure.
One of borophene’s more interesting abilities is how it can act as a catalyst. It can break down molecular hydrogen ions, and hydrogen and oxygen ions from water. Hydrogen atoms also stick to borophene, meaning it could be a potential material for hydrogen storage. In theory the material could store more than 15% of its weight in hydrogen, much more than its competitors.
Borophene is also being touted as the next anode material in future, more powerful lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries. Borophene is said to have the largest storage capacity of any 2D material.
There are several drawbacks to borophene as well. It can’t currently be used widely, and it is difficult to make in large quantities. The benefit of having a reactive material can also be a disadvantage, when it’s vulnerable to oxidation. The production process is costly, too.
Despite these negatives, there are hopes borophene will have a multitude of uses in the near future. Aside from Li-ion batteries, catalysis and hydrogen storage, it can also be used for flexible electronics.
Another potential future usage is the use of borophene for gas sensing applications thanks to its ability to absorb gas. Its large surface-area-to-volume ratios make it suitable for gas sensors too.
An optimistic outlook
If borophene can be manufactured in large quantities, it could be used in many applications in the future. It will be an interesting few years watching the development and progression of this material.
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