Borophene: Material of future

Borophene, which is called “the new wonder material" by the scientific world, can be produced by very few countries in the world. Turkey is now among the countries that can produce borophene.

Şeyda Kübra Ayaz
seydaayaz@intell4.com

 

With the development of technology, digitalization has permeated every aspect of life. The digitalization of everything from daily life to business has brought along a "charge" problem. Although this problem has been overcome to some extent with current technologies, it has not been effective. Scientists also carried out studies to develop new technologies that charge in a short time with less material and extend the usage time.

Two-dimensional (2D) materials (one-dimensional nanomaterials) have attracted a lot of attention in recent years due to their wide range of applications. Among these materials, the most well-known by the scientific world is graphene, which consists of carbon atoms, which has a strong and flexible structure, as well as excellent electrical and thermal conductivity properties.

The discovery of graphene by Geim and Novoselov in 2004 and the Nobel Prize awarded to them in 2010 for this achievement further increased the popularity of graphene. The European Union (EU) allocated 1 billion euros for the establishment of the graphene industry.

This success of graphene led the scientific world to search for different 2D materials. While there was no new material to compete with graphene for a long time, all thoughts changed with the synthesis of borophene in 2015.

HOW STRONG IS BOROPHENE?

Physicists discovered the existence of borophene through computer simulations in the 1990s. In this discovery, it was aimed that borophene atoms could form a one-dimensional layer. This idea has been successfully implemented.

A study conducted at Xiamen University in China indicates that borophene produced from the mineral boron may be a material to replace graphene in many uses, from superfast computers to batteries, from transistors to touch screens.

Experts emphasize that borophene is stronger and more flexible than graphene, which is considered the best conductor of heat and electricity and is 200 times stronger than steel.

Borophene stands out primarily because it is more flexible and stronger than graphene. Superconduction also takes place with the material, which is very useful in both electricity and heat conduction. It is also lightweight and highly reactive. Thus, it can be used for processes such as electron storage. This makes it a highly functional anode, especially for lithium, sodium and magnesium ion batteries.

Borophene also provides the best performance in hydrogen capture and retention. Borophene, which can hold up to 15 percent of its weight in hydrogen, is very suitable for use in this field. Borophene can also be used as a catalyst to convert hydrogen atoms into hydrogen ions. This could usher in a new era for water-based energy systems.

Experts said that graphene will revolutionize the computer processor and chip industry, as it can conduct electricity very well. But with borophene, this process can be taken even further.

Borofen is also used in defense industry and ballistic applications. It is thought that it can be used for anti-radar, that is, not to be caught on the radar.

Research focuses on producing borophene at a lower cost and protecting it against the risk of corrosion.

BOROPHENE STUDIES IN TURKEY

Turkey, which has 73 percent of the world's boron reserves, stands out in borophene production. Borophene, which only a few countries in the world can produce and which will revolutionize the field of energy, can now be produced in Turkey as well.

Özgür Ekin Felek, Business Development Officer at Sabancı University SUNUM Nanotechnology Research and Application Center, said that Turkey closely follows the developments in borofen.

In the tests carried out by SUNUM and Sabancı University researchers and technical teams, 3 percent Borofen was used in the production of a standard Li-on battery. The capacity of the battery has increased in the range of 20-30%. “This is a very satisfying result.” says Ekin.

Mert Umut Özkaynak, Deputy Director of Strategy and Business Development at Sabancı University SUNUM Nanotechnology Research and Application Center, explains that they directed their borophene studies to energy applications in the first place.

According to Özkaynak's estimation, the market size of energy batteries will be 105 billion dollars in 2025.

“Our main goal is to get a share from here with borofen technologies and to reduce Turkey's dependence on foreign sources in this field. Day by day, we added different fields such as defense, automotive and composite to energy. We diversified the product. We are about to complete our patent application for the first product revealed in our studies in the field of energy. The meaning of this patent application is as follows; There is no example of this work in the world. High commercialization and potential. At the point we have reached now, we are meeting with entrepreneurs and industrialists around the world. But of course, our priority is Turkey. For now, our top priority is to move forward with the industrial world in our country and to create added value here.”

According to Özkaynak, Turkey will begin to use this material, which it produces with its own means, in national projects as well.

It is very critical that borophene can be produced in Turkey in terms of reducing foreign dependency in energy and creating a new export area. In addition, the use of borophene in the defense industry, which is one of the most important areas in which Turkey has supported domestic and national production in recent years, is a strategic material that will bring Turkey forward in this field.