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Graphene Study Catalyst for Improved Fuel Cells

Monday, September 23, 2019

A study entitled, "Aqueous proton transfer across single-layer graphene" was recently published in Nature Communications for its breakthrough graphene discovery. The research was conducted by the US Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) in collaboration with scientists from the Fluid Interface Reactions, Structures, and Transport (FIRST) Energy Frontier Research Center (EFRC). Together, the team tested the possibility of using graphene as a separation membrane in water that would allow protons to pass through its gaps. To verify their theory, the scientists placed a single-layer graphene on a substrate of silica glass separated by water molecules. By changing the acidity of the water on either side of the graphene layer and observing the chemical changes with a laser technique called second harmonic generation, the team managed to identify the proton-transfer occurrences. The observation was then confirmed using ORNL's aberration-corrected scanning transmission electron microscope (STEM). "Finally, when we were able to put all the pieces together, we made a conclusive statement that—even though there's a high energetic barrier for proton transport through graphene—if you lower that energetic barrier, you can allow protons to pass right through," said ORNL researcher RaymondUnocic. "This opens a new pathway for the atomic-scale engineering of graphene." Findings from this study provide a spectrum of possibilities for the improvement of energy technology using graphene. According to the paper, isolating single ion-transfer mechanisms and structural gaps in graphene could simplify the production, transportation, and use of energy and could serve as a basis for hydrogen fuel cells, water filtering, and desalination membranes. Researchers in the scientific industry require high-quality lab equipment and materials to produce precise and reliable results. Andwin Scientific provides over a million instruments and supplies from leading manufacturers. To learn more about our full line of products, visit http://andwinsci.com/categories.php today.