TA Industrial Success Stories: ECO2D, a collaboration between Catania Beyondnano laboratory and Solvay
Among the various success stories enabled thanks to ESTEEM3 transnational access, some concern the industry: this is the case for the ECO2D project, led by Patrice Le Cornec from Solvay (France), which benefited from access to the Beyondnano infrastructure, in Catania, Italy.
The challenge behind ECO2D:
Mass production of graphene and other 2D materials is mandatory for technology transfer. Liquid-phase exfoliation enables the achievement of large-scale production at an extremely low cost. Especially, liquid phase exfoliation of graphite by sonication in nonaqueous solvents like N-methyl-2-pyrrolidone (NMP) provides a simple and scalable route to dispersions of defect-free graphene sheets.
Recent development of novel techniques, involving as an example exfoliation with wet-jet mill using NMP, has allowed the production of functional inks with atomically thin flakes with concentrations as high as 10 g/L. The role of the solvent is crucial to the process: interactions of the solvent with the 2D sheets prevent agglomeration and stabilize the dispersion.
Unfortunately, the NMP solvent has health effects, particularly relevant for pregnant women. Hence, ecofriendly alternative solvents are necessary. The ECO2D project is demonstrating that NMP can be successfully replaced by Solvay PolarClean, an eco-friendly water-soluble polar solvent. Impact is evidently high for the whole community working on 2D materials.
The main results of the project:
Thanks to ESTEEM3 TA, Catania Beyondnano laboratory in collaboration with Solvay is testing this new eco-friendly solvent which looks very promising. By systematic structural and chemical characterizations at atomic resolutions of exfoliated specimens, such as Graphene, MoS2, and WS2, by using NMP and the eco-friendly Solvay PolarClean, the experimental results show that Solvay solvent gives back high quality of exfoliated 2D layers with almost no solvent residual. This represents an important success of the TA between ESTEEM3 and industrial partners!
Beyondnano received a first set of specimens from Solvay in June 2019 and subsequently sent back first results and suggestions for improving the clearness of the exfoliated specimen. Then, they started studying a definitive set of 6 samples between October 2019 and February 2020. On March 2020, a paper was submitted with the obtained results of the project. More information on the publication is coming soon!
Interested in Transnational Access to the leading European state-of-the-art Transmission Electron Microscopy (TEM)? Find out more about the procedure here!