It has been just revealed the fact that the revolution of renewable energy is already here. It’s time to learn more about this and we suggest that you take a look at the details below.
Graphene proton transport
Proton transport in graphene has caught the attention of researchers in recent years due to its potential applications in fuel cells, sensors, and other electrochemical devices.
This process can play a significant role in the development of renewable energy, particularly green hydrogen.
Graphene’s atomically thin structure makes it impervious to various elements, including protons. However, the edges, flaws, and functionalization of graphene can create channels for proton diffusion.
The flow of protons in graphene is influenced by several factors, such as temperature, humidity, and the presence of functional groups.
Speeding up proton transport with light
Researchers at the National Graphene Institute of the University of Manchester have discovered a new method to accelerate proton transport across graphene by using light.
This breakthrough could lead to the development of solar water-splitting devices and more efficient hydrogen fuel cells, which are crucial components in the production of green hydrogen.
The scientists found that when graphene is stimulated by light, its electrons become excited, allowing protons to interact with them and speed up their movement through the material.
This innovation could open up new possibilities for producing green hydrogen.
“Understanding the connection between electronic and ion transport properties in electrode-electrolyte interfaces at the molecular scale could enable new strategies to accelerate processes central to many renewable energy technologies, including hydrogen generation and utilization,” said lead researcher Dr. Marcelo Lozada-Hidalgo.
During their research, the group examined the electrical and proton transport properties of graphene while it was exposed to light. They were able to conclude that the movement of protons was accelerated due to the excitation of electrons caused by light.
The discovery of the “Pauli blocking” phenomenon of proton transport provided strong evidence for this relationship.
Essentially, when the energy of the electrons in graphene is increased to a certain level, the material becomes unable to absorb light, leading to the blocking effect.
It’s fascinating to learn that recent experiments indicate the transportation of protons through graphene electrodes can be accelerated by low-intensity illumination.
It’s even more exciting to see that this photo-effect can be controlled by applying a voltage bias for a fraction of the infra-red spectrum that can be adjusted as per the need.
The results of the experiment, based on photocurrent measurements and Raman spectroscopy, suggest that this fraction can be chosen by tuning the Fermi energy of electrons in graphene with a bias.
This phenomenon is controlled by Pauli blocking of photo-excited electrons. The findings provide managed to bring fundamental insights into the interaction between light and molecularly thin electrode-electrolyte interfaces and the dependence between graphene’s electronic and proton transport properties.
It’s great to see how these discoveries can lead to new opportunities to innovate and improve the world we live in.