Atomically thin micas as proton-conducting membranes

Datum: 11 september 2019

Inleiding: Recent work from CMT researchers (Dr Bacaksiz and Prof Peeters) provide theoretical support for experiments done in Manchester which show that micas are excellent proton conducting membranes.

(Physworld News) One-atom thick materials like graphene (a 2D sheet of carbon) conduct protons extremely well but they become impermeable to protons the thicker they get. Indeed, 2D molybdenum sulphide (MoS2) becomes completely impermeable to protons at just three atoms thick. A team of researchers from the UK, China and Belgium (CMT group at University of Antwerp) has now found that materials known as ion-exchanged micas are highly efficient proton conductors even when they are ten atoms thick. This surprising new result could prove to be important for applications such as fuel cells and other hydrogen-related technologies.

Micas (a type of mineral commonly found in soil) are made up of aluminosilicate layers that are normally covered with cations, such as potassium ions (K+). These native ions can readily be exchanged for other ions, like protons (H+), lithium (Li+) or caesium (Cs+). It is particularly easy to substitute H+ for the native ions.

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The work was recently presented in Nature Nanotechnology.