researchers found grapheneThe intrinsic proton permeability of hydrogen offers the potential to stimulate hydrogen economy and the production of green hydrogen.
Researchers from the University of Manchester and University of Warwick This long-standing mystery has been solved as to why the permeability of graphene for protons is much higher than theoretical expectations.
Ten years ago, scientists at the University of Manchester made the startling discovery that graphene is permeable to protons, the nuclei of hydrogen atoms. This unexpected result plunged the scientific community into a debate, as established theory had predicted that it would take billions of years for a proton to traverse graphene’s densely populated crystal structure. Therefore, it was hypothesized that protons could pass through tiny pinholes present in graphene instead of the crystal lattice.
Results and Implications
Now, as published in the newspaper today (August 23) Nature, very high spatial resolution measurements of proton transport through graphene and prove that perfect graphene crystals are permeable to protons. unexpectedly, protons accelerate around on the nanoscale Ripples and ripples in crystals. The study was a collaboration between the University of Warwick, led by Professor Patrick Unwin, and the University of Manchester, led by Dr Marcelo Lozada-Hidalgo and Professor Andre Geim.
The discovery has the potential to accelerate the hydrogen economy. Expensive catalysts and membranes, sometimes with large environmental footprints, currently used to generate and store hydrogen could be replaced by more durable 2D crystals, which would reduce carbon emissions and reduce hydrogen emissions. Contribute to net zero emissions through the generation of Green Hydrogen.
“Using the catalytic activity of waves and wrinkles in 2D crystals is a fundamentally new way to accelerate ion transport and chemical reactions. This could lead to the development of low-cost catalysts for hydrogen-related technologies.
, Dr. Marcelo Lozada-Hidalgo
Research Techniques and Notes
The team used a technique called scanning electrochemical cell microscopy (SECCM) to measure tiny streams of protons collected in nanometer-sized regions. This allowed the researchers to visualize the spatial distribution of proton currents through the graphene membrane. If the transport of protons was through holes, as some scientists hypothesize, the currents would be concentrated in a few isolated locations. No such isolated point was found, which rules out the presence of pores in the graphene membrane.
“We were surprised to find absolutely no defects in graphene crystals,” commented Dr. Segun Wahab and Enrico Daviddi, lead authors of the paper. Our results provide microscopic evidence that graphene is inherently permeable to protons.
Unexpectedly, proton currents were found to be faster around nanometer-sized wrinkles in the crystal. Scientists have found that this occurs because the wrinkles effectively “stretch” the graphene lattice, giving protons more room to penetrate through the pristine crystal lattice. This observation now reconciles experience and theory.
Dr Lozada-Hidalgo said: “We are effectively stretching an atomic scale mesh and seeing a high current through the interatomic spaces spanning that mesh – the mind boggles. ,
Professor Unwin comments: “These results present the SECCM developed in our laboratory as a powerful technique for obtaining fine-grained information about electrochemical interfaces for the design of next-generation membranes and separators involving protons.” Opens up exciting possibilities. »
look forward to
The authors are excited by the potential of this discovery to enable new hydrogen-based technologies.
Dr. Lozada-Hidalgo said: “Using the catalytic activity of waves and wrinkles in 2D crystals is a fundamentally new way to accelerate ion transport and chemical reactions. This could lead to the development of low-cost catalysts for hydrogen-related technologies.