Reaction undercover: boosting the potency of catalysts

To sever society’s tether from fossil fuels, the development of more efficient catalysts for renewable energy production is a recognized, key step. On surfaces covered by 2D materials, a more detailed picture of the reaction process will greatly enhance our understanding, according to a recent study in ACS Catalysis. Researchers in Sweden have observed the effects of hydrogen and other gas combinations on 2D material graphene during undercover reactions using ambient-pressure XPS at MAX IV’s HIPPIE beamline.

A fuel conversion process akin to photosynthesis

Researchers at Linköping University in Sweden are developing a promising new method to selectively convert carbon dioxide and water to various types of fuel. Driving this reaction is solar energy. The recent study, published in ACS Nano, combines the material graphene and the semiconductor cubic silicon carbide in a process which essentially mimics photosynthesis in plants.

Honeycomb borophene: myth or reality?

Scientists examined whether honeycomb boron can function as a structural analogue 2D material to graphene. Employing core-level X-ray spectroscopies, scanning tunneling microscopy, and DFT calculations, they analyzed the structure and electronic properties of honeycomb boron after its reaction with aluminum. They found that although it resembles graphene in electronic structure to some extent, it fails to form a quasi-freestanding monolayer on aluminum. This lack of a freestanding state is a clear difference from the behavior of graphene or monolayer hexagonal boron nitride (h-BN) on lattice-mismatched metal surfaces.

Zigzag graphene nanoribbons’ surface state hints at spin-polarized channels’ potential practical applications

An international team of researchers confirmed that epitaxial zigzag graphene nanoribbons grown on mesa-structured silicon carbide form protected spin-polarized transport channels at room temperature with very weak spin–orbit interaction. They discovered that while the zigzag graphene nanoribbon monolayer sank almost completely into a silicon carbide facet, its lower edge dissolved and mixed with the silicon