Chinese researchers have recently reported an innovative mechanical process for controllable stripping of hexagonal boron nitride nanowires (h-BNNSs). This method is called "water ice triggered stripping process".
H-BNNSs has a honeycomb structure similar to graphene and has excellent chemical and physical properties such as high thermal conductivity good oxidation resistance remarkable mechanical strength low dielectric constant excellent lubricity excellent biocompatibility and optical properties.
In view of these properties, h-BNNS is a promising material for a variety of applications, including high-performance electronic devices, dielectric substrates, thermal management, lubrication, sensors, catalysts and adsorbents. Therefore, there is an urgent need to develop a simple, controllable and scalable method to produce high-quality h-BNNS for commercial applications.
In their new study, Zhang and his team proposed a scalable and controllable way to strip high-quality h-BNNS from h-BN slices.
"this method relies on effectively reducing the h-BNNS interlayer interaction through the rapid volume expansion of water in ice," Zhang said.
In general, h-BNNS can be prepared by chemical vapor deposition (CVD) and physical exfoliation. CVD can produce wafer-level single crystal monolayer h-BNNSs, while physical stripping process can achieve large-scale production of small-size h-BNNSs.
Based on molecular dynamics simulations, the researchers proposed that the-OH group will lead to the local structural deformation of the defect / edge of the h-BN sheet, thus forming the "entrance" for water molecules to enter the h-BNNS interlayer. This in turn provides a sufficient number of relatively long-lived hydrogen bonds that can produce fairly compact initial nuclei for ice nuclei.
The shape and size of the initial nuclei then slowly change until they reach a stage where rapid expansion is allowed as the temperature drops sharply. This results in an increase in interlayer spacing and a decrease in interlayer force between adjacent h-BNNS layers, as well as effective stripping of h-BNNS during subsequent ultrasonic treatment.
"by adjusting the parameters, this stripping process can be used to produce a large number of different high-quality h-BNNS," said Dr. An Lulu, lead author of the study.
"this method provides an environmentally friendly way to peel off h-BNNSs with controllable thickness through rapid water freezing and subsequent ultrasonic treatment. These obtained h-BNNSs can be used as polymer additives, thermal conductive fillers and flame retardants, "said Professor Yu Yuanlie, the study's newsletter author.
The study was published on Cell Reports Physical Science.
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