FEIT Research Project Database

Nanoionics: engineering ion transport with two-dimensional materials

Project Leader: Dan Li
Primary Contact: Dan Li (dan.li1@unimelb.edu.au)
Disciplines: Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering

Graphene and other atomically thin two-dimensional (2D) materials are a new class of nanomaterials emerging in the past decade. Capitalising on Prof. Li group’s achievements in synthesis of graphene-based materials, this program will develop a new integrated 2D nanoionics research platform based on multilayered membranes made of 2D materials. Electroactive 2D materials will be utilised to nano-confine, probe and modulate ion transport synergistically. This new multidisciplinary platform will allow the integration of a series of new and existing ion probing and modulation techniques across multiple length scales to pursue quantitative structure-property-performance relationships vital for a paradigm shift in nanoionics.

The specific aims of this program are to:

  • Synthesise a family of chemically functionalised 2D membranes with the nanochannel size adjustable across the entire sub-10 nm range
  • Create a new suite of complementary techniques to probe and modulatenanoconfined ion transportby integrated utilisation of the propertiesof 2D materialsand the unique structure of 2D membranes
  • Harness and translatethe new insights obtained from the fundamental study and design new novel ionic devices and applications

These new advanced capabilities for nanoionics research will provide us with an unprecedented opportunity to design a broad range of innovative ionic device concepts and technologies. These exciting technologies will provide new energy-efficient methods for water desalination and mining valuable minerals, enable new generation of powerful energy storage devices, and create novel chemical or biological separation and delivery systems.

Representative publications from Li’s group on this research theme:

  1. Yang, X., Cheng, C., Wang, Y. Qiu, L. & Li, D, Liquid-mediated dense integration of graphene materials for compact capacitive energy storage, Science, 341, 534-537 (2013).
  2. Cheng, C., Jiang, G., Garvey, C. J., Wang, Y., Simon, G. P., Liu, J. Z. & Li, D.Ion transport in complex layered graphene-based membranes with tuneable interlayer spacing, Science Advances, 2, e1501272 (2016)
  3. Cheng, C., Jiang, G., Simon, G. P., Liu, J. Z. & Li, D. Low-voltage electrostatic modulation of ion diffusion through layered graphene-based nanoporous membranes, Nature Nanotechnology 13, 685–690 (2018).