Scientists discover new method to create atom-thin ‘nanosheets’

February 4th, 2011 - 5:55 pm ICT by ANI  

Washington, Feb 4 (ANI): Researchers have discovered a new simple, fast, and inexpensive method of splitting layered materials to produce atom thin ‘nanosheets.’

The find has led to a range of novel two-dimensional nanomaterials with chemical and electronic properties that have the potential to enable new electronic and energy storage technologies.

The discovery was made by teams from the Centre for Research on Adaptive Nanostructures and Nanodevices (CRANN), Trinity College Dublin, Ireland, and the University of Oxford.

“Of the many possible applications of these new nanosheets, perhaps the most important are as thermoelectric materials. These materials, when fabricated into devices, can generate electricity from waste heat,” said Professor Jonathan Coleman at CRANN.

“For example, in gas-fired power plants approximately 50 percent of energy produced is lost as waste heat while for coal and oil plants the figure is up to 70 percent. However, the development of efficient thermoelectric devices would allow some of this waste heat to be recycled cheaply and easily, something that has been beyond us, up until now,” he added.

“Our new method offers low-costs, a very high yield and a very large throughput: within a couple of hours, and with just 1 mg of material, billions and billions of one-atom-thick nanosheets can be made at the same time from a wide variety of exotic layered materials,” explained Dr Nicolosi, from the University of Oxford.

The new materials can also be used in next generation batteries - “supercapacitors” - which can deliver energy thousands of times faster than standard batteries, enabling new applications such as electric cars.

Many of these new atomic layered materials are very strong and can be added to plastics to produce super-strong composites. These will be useful in a range of industries from simple structural plastics to aeronautics.

The study has been published in this week’s Science. (ANI)

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