NPL has experience in investigating single layer flakes of molybdenum disulphide (MoS2) using a range of surface and nanoanalysis techniques and has a good understanding of the fundamental characterisation of non-carbon 2D materials. The request from DZP for support in development of supercapacitors led to both NPL and DZP securing a 12 month Innovate UK (IUK) project worth £151k.
As part of this work, DZP required two new inexpensive quality control (QC) processes that could be used in-house to characterise 2D materials and assess the subsequently-produced electrodes. NPL developed rapid non-destructive QC methods for characterising non-carbon 2D materials, MoS2 and tungsten disulphide (WS2). These methods enabled DZP to perform quick and inexpensive QC testing on the range of materials they would be producing and modifying.
As well as building on previous knowledge of the measurement of material properties, this project developed an electrochemical characterisation method for new electrodes. DZP worked closely with NPL researchers working on Surface Technology and Electrochemistry.
Importantly, the work in this IUK project revealed that non-carbon 2D materials, which can be produced by DZP in a commercially scalable way, can be used to improve the performance of supercapacitors.
The innovation of this IUK project was highlighted in the IUK report ‘Creating Value from Non-carbon 2D materials – beyond Graphene’ state of the art review, which noted how this was the only IUK project at the time addressing non-carbon-based 2D materials.
The UK is one of the leading countries in two-dimensional materials R&D. The industry uptake and commercialisation of these innovative materials and related-products is still limited, due to lack of application demonstrators and high development costs. The collaboration between DZP and NPL has successfully proved the benefits of using MoS2 in increasing of energy storage performance whilst enabling cost-effective manufacturing costs. I believe that this case study will strengthen the confidence of industry to integrate non-carbon two-dimensional materials into their existing processes or develop innovative new products.
Dr Tatiana Correia - Knowledge Transfer Manager Nano, InnovateUK Knowledge Transfer Network