It’s stronger than graphene, more flexible, and also conducts electricity and heat. What is this extraordinary material? It’s borophene, a single-atom layer of boron that scientists predict may transform energy storage technology.
Borophene’s graphite-based predecessor, graphene, first sparked the interest of materials scientists with its strength and ability to conduct electricity. However, borophene seems to have an even more extensive range of possible applications, one being as an anode material in a new generation of high-powered lithium-ion batteries.
The material was first synthesized in 2015 using chemical vapor deposition, a process in which boron gas atoms are condensed on a silver surface. The regular pattern of silver atoms forces boron atoms into a similar arrangement, creating a flat hexagonal structure with patterned spaces within the formation.
“Borophene is a promising anode material for Li, Na, and Mg ion batteries due to high theoretical specific capacities, excellent electronic conductivity and outstanding ion transport properties,” Zhi-Qiang Wang of Xiamen University in China told the MIT Tech Review.
Researchers are also encouraged by the fact that hydrogen atoms also adhere well to borophene’s structure, making it a promising material for hydrogen storage as well. In fact, speculative studies indicate that borophene could store more than 15% of its weight in hydrogen.
The range of applications that borophene may be suitable for is impressive. In the future, not only could it become a game-changing material for batteries, but scientists believe that it could revolutionize sensor technologies as well.
What are your impressions? What uses do you envision for this remarkable material?