Saturday, December 20, 2014

[1410.8724] Proton transport through one atom thick crystals

[1410.8724] Proton transport through one atom thick crystals:

"Graphene is impermeable to all gases and liquids, and even such a small atom as hydrogen is not expected to penetrate through graphene's dense electronic cloud within billions of years. Here we show that monolayers of graphene and hexagonal boron nitride (hBN) are unexpectedly permeable to thermal protons, hydrogen ions under ambient conditions. As a reference, no proton transport could be detected for a monolayer of molybdenum disulfide, bilayer graphene or multilayer hBN. At room temperature, monolayer hBN exhibits the highest proton conductivity with a low activation energy of about 0.3 eV but graphene becomes a better conductor at elevated temperatures such that its resistivity to proton flow is estimated to fall below 10^-3 Ohm per cm2 above 250 C. The proton barriers can be further reduced by decorating monolayers with catalytic nanoparticles. These atomically thin proton conductors could be of interest for many hydrogen-based technologies."

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