One dimensional (1D) and two dimensional (2D) materials have a tremendous range of unique properties and the potential to deliver breakthroughs in a wide variety of applications, from medical technologies to energy storage to next generation electronic devices and more. Some of the greatest challenges to taking advantage of this potential are the expense, toxicity and/or length of time required in large-scale production of 1D and 2D materials.
Researchers at Drexel University recently reported a simple method for synthesizing 1D and 2D ceramic materials at kilogram-scale in room temperature and normal air pressure conditions from inexpensive, environmentally benign sources, potentially overcoming the major obstacles to mass production.
Distinguished Professor Michel Barsoum and Assistant Professor Yong-Jie Hu have received a three year grant from the National Science Foundation to investigate how exactly the nanomaterials made from this new process form, what chemical reactions are involved, and how they can control their chemistry and structure. Additionally, they will study the optical and electrical properties of these new nanomaterials to understand whether they are suitable for specific technological applications. First experiments indicate that these ceramic nanomaterials could be used as Li battery electrodes that, in principle, could result in batteries with much higher storage capacity than today’s Li-batteries. Other potential applications could include water remediation and biomedical applications, water splitting using sunlight and catalysis among others.
Professors Barsoum and Hu also use this project to provide training and research opportunities for graduate students pursuing PhDs and undergraduate involvement in the research.