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Unplanned discoveries can lead to vital discoveries in the future, such as batteries, fuel cells, and devices for converting heat to electricity.

Scientists usually conduct research by carefully selecting a research problem, devising an appropriate plan to solve it, and implementing that plan. However, unplanned discoveries can occur along the way.

Mercouri Kanatzidis, Professor Northwestern University Co-appointed at the US Department of Energy’s (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory, he was looking for a new superconductor with unconventional behavior when he made an unexpected discovery. With a thickness of only 4 atoms, it was a material that could study the motion of charged particles in two dimensions. Such research could spur the invention of new materials for a variety of energy conversion devices.

Kanatzidis’s target material is a combination of silver, potassium and selenium (a-KAg)3Se2) 4-layer structure like a wedding cake. These 2D materials have lengths and widths, but they have very little thickness because they are only 4 atoms high.

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