Borofen beats graphene in the fight against "supermaterials"

EU officials admitted that they were somewhat rushed with the allocation of 1 billion euros for the launch of the production of graphene on an industrial scale. The excitement around him led to the discovery of other two-dimensional monoatomic materials, the most promising of which today is called borofen. It was first synthesized only in 2015, and now scientists are enthusiastically studying the properties that its unique "leaky" structure provides.

Borophene is made by depositing boron vapor onto a pure silver substrate, forming a very familiar hexagonal lattice one atom thick. But about half of the atoms form only 5 bonds, and some even 4. The lattice remains ordered, but "holes" appear in it - free cells, where atoms of another substance can be added. And this already makes borophene "tunable", allowing scientists to change its properties for their own purposes.

Borophene is stronger than graphene, and due to its unusual structure, it is lightweight and flexible. It is a superconductor with high specific capacity and electronic conductivity, in fact, an ideal material for storing ions. And this is the key to creating new ionic batteries, and not only based on lithium. Borofen seems to have been created in order to collect and accumulate ions of various elements - and the same leaky structure must be thanked for this.

Borophene also perfectly breaks down molecular hydrogen, assigning its ions and can accumulate up to 15% of its weight this way. It has proven to be an excellent catalyst in various reactions with hydrogen and oxygen, which promises a breakthrough in the creation of water-based power systems. When interacting with other substances, borophene can be used as an indicator, since it is very reactive.

Alas, this is its main vulnerability - borophene enters into chemical reactions too easily, oxidizes quickly and it is difficult and costly to store it in its pure form. Chemists have a lot of work to do - but it could make borophene a world-changing material.