Singh said the research is important for two reasons:
1. Synthesis of large quantities of single or few-layer-thick 2-D materials is crucial to understanding the true commercial potential of materials such as transition metal dichalcogenides, or TMD, and graphene.
2. Fundamental understanding of how sodium is stored in a layered material through mechanisms other than the conventional intercalation and alloying reaction. In addition, using graphene as the flexible support and current collector is crucial for eliminating the copper foil and making lighter and bendable rechargeable batteries. In contrast to lithium, sodium supplies are essentially unlimited and the batteries are expected to be a lot cheaper.
"From the synthesis point of view, we have shown that certain transition metal dichalcogenides can be exfoliated in strong acids," Singh said. "This method should allow synthesis of gram quantities of few-layer-thick molybdenum disulfide sheets, which is very crucial for applications such as flexible batteries, supercapacitors, and polymer composites. For such applications, TMD flakes that are a few atoms thick are sufficient. Very high-quality single-layer flakes are not a necessity."
The researchers are working to commercialize the technology, with assistance from the university's Institute of Commercialization. They also are exploring lithium and sodium storage in other nanomaterials.
|Contact: Gurpreet Singh|
Kansas State University