A U.S. team of scientists have created a new 2D material called ‘borophane‘ that’s less than a nanometer thick, but stronger and more versatile than steel.
This material’s stable nanosheets contain boron and hydrogen atoms and they could help boost device performance for electronic devices, solar cells, batteries and medical equipment.
Borophane’s creation was spearheaded by Argonne National Laboratory (ANL) along with Northwestern University and University of Florida scientists.
Borophane is partially derived from an atom-thick sheet of boron, called borophene. It has no equivalent parent structure and is very difficult to prepare.
What’s more, the rapid reaction of borophene with air means it is very unstable and changes form readily.
“Borophene by itself has all kinds of problems,” says Northwestern professor Mark Hersam. “But when we mix borophene with hydrogen, the product suddenly becomes much more stable and attractive for use in the burgeoning fields of nanoelectronics and quantum information technology.”
The research team grew borophene on a silver substrate then exposed it to hydrogen to form the borophane.
They then unraveled the complex structure of borophane by combining a scanning tunneling microscope with an AI computer-vision based algorithm that compares theoretical simulations of structures with experimental measurements.
“What is really encouraging from our results is that we found a borophane nanosheet on a silver substrate to be quite stable, unlike borophene,” says ANL nanoscientist Pierre Darancet.
“This means it should be easily integrated with other materials in the construction of new devices for optoelectronics, devices combining light with electronics.”
Image and content: Qiucheng Li, Chaitanya Kolluru/ANL