Stronger and more flexible than graphene, a boron layer of a single atom could revolutionize sensors, batteries and catalytic chemistry.
Not long ago, graphene was the wonderful new material. A super strong sheet formed by atoms in the shape of a chicken coop, which can form tubes, balls and other curious shapes. And due to it conducts electricity, material scientists raised the prospect of a new era of computerized process based on a lucrative graphene chip industry. The European Union invested 1.000 million euros to launch a graphene industry.
The technology based on graphene has not yet materialized, but has aroused interest in other two-dimensional materials. And the most exciting of all borophen: a single layer of boron atoms that form several crystalline structures.
The reason for this emotion is the extraordinary range of applications for which borophen is suitable. Electrochemical think that borophen could become the anode material in a new generation of more powerful lithium-ion batteries. Chemists are fascinated by their catalytic capabilities. And Physics are testing their abilities as a sensor to detect numerous types of atoms and molecules.
Borophen is also light and quite reactive. This makes it a good candidate to store metal ions in batteries. Borophen is a promising anode material for Li, Na and Mg ion batteries due to its high specific theoretical capacities, its excellent electronic conductivity and its excellent ion transport properties.
Furthermore, borophen has the ability to catalyze the decomposition of molecular hydrogen into hydrogen ions, and water into hydrogen and oxygen ions. Outstanding catalytic yields of borophen have been found in the hydrogen evolution reaction, oxygen reduction reaction, oxygen evolution reaction and CO2 electro reduction reaction.
However, chemists have a lot of work to do before borophen can be used more widely. To begin with, they still have to find a way to produce borophen in large quantities. And the reactivity of the material means that it is vulnerable to oxidation, so it needs to be protected carefully. Both factors can make borophen expensive to manufacture and difficult to handle. Therefore, there is work ahead.
Anon, (2019). [online] Available at: https://www.revistadyna.com/noticias-de-ingenieria/borofeno-nueva-revolucion-en-materiales [Accessed 5 Apr. 2019].
Test related to new materials can be carried out in specialized climatic chamber to check their characteristics.