A closer look at catalysts is giving researchers a better sense of how these atom-thick materials produce hydrogen.
Their findings could accelerate the development of 2D materials for energy applications, such as fuel cells.
The researchers’ technique allows them to probe through tiny “windows” created by an electron beam and measure the catalytic activity of molybdenum disulfide, a two-dimensional material that shows promise for applications that use electrocatalysis to extract hydrogen from water.
Initial tests on two variations of the material proved that most production is coming from the thin sheets’ edges.
Researchers already knew the edges of 2D materials are where the catalytic action is, so any information that helps maximize it is valuable, says Jun Lou, a professor of materials science and nanoengineering at Rice University whose lab developed the technique with colleagues at Los Alamos National Laboratory.