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Scientists from Tomsk Polytechnic University (TPU), together with colleagues from the United States and Germany, have found a way to obtain inexpensive catalysts from hexagonal boron nitride or "white graphene." The technology can be used in the production of environmentally friendly hydrogen fuel.

The researchers have found a new way to functionalize a dielectric, otherwise known as white graphene, i.e. (hBN), without destroying it or changing its properties. Thanks to the new method, the researchers synthesized a polymer nano carpet with strong covalent bond on the samples.

Prof Raul Rodriguez from the TPU Research School of Chemistry & Applied Biomedical Sciences explains:

"For the first time, we have managed to covalently functionalize hexagonal without strong chemical compositions and the introduction of new defects into the material. In fact, earlier approaches had resulted in a different material with altered properties, i.e. hydrolyzed boron nitride. In our turn, we used nanodefects existing in the material without increasing their number, and eco-friendly photopolymerization."

One of the promising options for using the new material, according to researchers, is catalysts for splitting water in hydrogen and oxygen. With this in mind, polymer carpets functioned as carriers of active substances, i.e. matrices. Nickel nanoparticles were integrated into the matrix. Catalysts obtained were used for electrocatalysis. Studies showed that they could be successfully used as an alternative to expensive platinum or gold.

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Category: Science