Revolutionary new method for scalable production of 2D materials discovered

2 February 2023

Engineers at The University of Queensland (UQ) have developed a new method to create monolayer nanosheets that until now it has been difficult to produce at a large scale with high yield.

Monolayer nanosheets have many potential uses across electronics, energy storage, and medical imaging, but their applications have been limited by the lack of efficient production methods.

Director of UQ’s Dow Centre for Sustainable Engineering Innovation Professor Xiwang Zhang said his team unlocked a critical step for many industrial and technological applications.

“Our team used a simple and scalable method to produce high-quality single-layer 2D materials from a variety of sources, including graphite, carbon nitride, and others,” said Professor Zhang.

The research team used a method called "sticky mechanical exfoliation" which involves using a liquid polymer called polyethyleneimine (PEI) as a medium for breaking down layered materials like graphite into single layer sheets of material like graphene.

“This new method could pave the way for large scale production of 2D materials, making them more widely available for use in a variety of applications, and making it possible for researchers to study their properties in greater depth.”

The team also demonstrated that the method works on other types of 2D materials as well and believe this new method can help in the industrialization of 2D materials and their potential use in everyday products.