Research ArticleNANOMATERIALS

Single-layer nanosheets with exceptionally high and anisotropic hydroxyl ion conductivity

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Science Advances  14 Apr 2017:
Vol. 3, no. 4, e1602629
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.1602629

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Abstract

When the dimensionality of layered materials is reduced to the physical limit, an ultimate two-dimensional (2D) anisotropy and/or confinement effect may bring about extraordinary physical and chemical properties. Layered double hydroxides (LDHs), bearing abundant hydroxyl groups covalently bonded within 2D host layers, have been proposed as inorganic anion conductors. However, typical hydroxyl ion conductivities for bulk or lamellar LDHs, generally up to 10−3 S cm−1, are considered not high enough for practical applications. We show that single-layer LDH nanosheets exhibited exceptionally high in-plane conductivities approaching 10−1 S cm−1, which were the highest among anion conductors and comparable to proton conductivities in commercial proton exchange membranes (for example, Nafion). The in-plane conductivities were four to five orders of magnitude higher than the cross-plane or cross-membrane values of restacked LDH nanosheets. This 2D superionic transport characteristic might have great promises in a variety of applications including alkaline fuel cells and water electrolysis.

Keywords
  • Nanomaterials
  • 2D materials
  • nanosheets
  • Ion conductor
  • Layered double hydroxides
  • fuel cells
  • electrolysis

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