The University of Illinois at Chicago has received a $1.44-million National Science Foundation (NSF) grant to discover new 2D materials that can be used to manufacture better and cheaper batteries. Two-dimensional materials, of which graphene is the most common, are extremely strong, lightweight, flexible, and excellent conductors of heat and electricity.
Since the discovery of graphene in 2004, about 700 2D materials are predicted to be stable; many remain to be synthesized. The global market for 2D materials is expected to reach $390 million within a decade.
Amin Salehi-Khojin, assistant professor of mechanical and industrial engineering, and Robert Klie, professor of physics, want to not only improve the performance of 2D materials—molybdenum disulfide is a promising candidate, they believe—in a battery but to understand how they function.
We want to find new catalyst materials that can increase a battery’s efficiency significantly, not incrementally. We believe that the new materials can increase its performance for electrochemical reactions by about 1,000 times, compared to existing materials. This will be revolutionary.—Amin Salehi-Khojin
During the four year grant cycle, Salehi-Khojin and Klie will be assisted by researchers at Washington University of St. Louis and Argonne National Laboratory, as well as doctoral and undergraduate minority students through UIC’s Minority Engineering Recruitment and Retention Program (MERRP) and select high school students.