Ground-Breaking New Type of Intelligent Material – Many Potential Uses From Drug Delivery to Energy Storage

The team that created the 2D electrolyte was led by Professor Antonio Castro Neto (right), director of CA2DM. With him is Mariana Costa (left), the lead author of this groundbreaking publication.Credits: National University of Singapore

Known as “two-dimensional electrolytes,” these smart materials have the potential to be used for many things, from drug delivery to energy storage.

Intelligent materials, the latest revolution in the field of materials science, can adapt their properties in response to changes in the environment. They can be used for everything from self-healing cell phone screens to targeted drug delivery that transforms the wings of an airplane. Delivering drugs to specific targets in the body using intelligent materials is especially important for diseases such as cancer. This is because smart materials only release the payload of the drug when they detect the presence of cancer cells and do not damage healthy cells.

Currently, researchers at the National University of Singapore (NUS) Advanced 2D Materials Center (CA2DM) have created a new class of intelligent materials. Although it has the structure of a two-dimensional (2D) material, it can act like an electrolyte and become a new way of delivering drugs into the body.

Like traditional electrolytes, these new “two-dimensional electrolytes” dissociate atoms and become charged in a variety of solvents. In addition, the placement of these materials can be controlled by external factors such as pH and temperature, making them ideal for targeted drug delivery. 2D electrolytes are also promising for other applications that require materials that respond to changes in the environment, such as artificial muscle and energy storage.

The team behind 2D Electrolytes is headed by Professor Antonio Castro Neto, Director of CA2DM, and consists of researchers from CA2DM, NUS Physics, and NUS Materials Science and Engineering.

Their pioneering results were published in prestigious magazines. Advanced material In May 2021.

Change the behavior of 2D materials

In materials science, a 2D material is a solid material that resides in a single layer of atoms. This can be thought of as a thin sheet at the atomic level with a certain height and width, but in reality it has no depth and is therefore essentially two-dimensional. Electrolytes, on the other hand, are substances that produce a conductive suspension when dissolved in a solvent such as water.

Two-dimensional electrolyte sheet

By changing the pH of the suspension, NUS researchers have shown the ability of the 2D electrolyte sheet to roll up into a scroll-like arrangement. This is similar to the way a charged polymer transitions from a molecular chain to a spherical object.Credits: National University of Singapore

There are many 2D materials today, and electrolyte behavior has been established with a myriad of other compounds. However, the results of NUS researchers show the first example of a material with both 2D structure and electrolyte properties, and there is a particular tendency to reversibly change its shape in a liquid medium. The NUS team achieved this feat by using organic molecules as reactive species to add various features to 2D materials, such as: Graphene Molybdenum disulfide (MoS)2).

“By adding a variety of positively or negatively charged chemical groups in the solvent, we have devised a new class of smart materials that change traditional 2D materials and control their electronic properties by morphological structure,” Castro said. Professor Neto explains.

The method researchers used to create 2D electrolytes is just one example of many potential options, and this discovery is an exciting new area of ​​research to explore.

From flat sheets to scrolls

A major breakthrough in this study was that the orientation of the 2D electrolyte could change reversibly by adjusting external conditions. It is currently laid out on flat sheets due to electrical repulsion between the surface charges of 2D materials. By varying the pH, temperature, or ion concentration of the suspension, NUS researchers have demonstrated the ability of the 2D electrolyte sheet to reshape and form scroll-like arrangements. These experimental results are supported by detailed theoretical analysis that explains the physical mechanisms behind scroll formation and stability.

The directions of these scrolls are so small in diameter that they can be described as one-dimensional (1D), resulting in different physical and chemical properties. In addition, this 2D to 1D transition can be undone by reverting the external conditions to their original values.

“2D electrolytes can be thought of as high-dimensional analogs of 1D electrolytes, commonly known as macromolecular electrolytes,” says Professor Castro Neto. Important examples of polymeric electrolytes include many biologically relevant materials, including: DNA And RNA..

“When an acid, base, or salt is added, these charged polymers undergo a structural transition from a 1D molecular chain to a 0D spherical object and vice versa. Our 2D electrolytes Like polymer electrolytes, it exhibits a reversible transition from 2D to 1D as a function of external factors. It is a good material for stimulus-responsive materials to create state-of-the-art technology, “he added.

Next step

The discovery of this class of materials has opened up new areas of exploration for materials scientists. This is to connect two previously unlinked research disciplines: 2D materials in physics and electrolytes (the discipline of electrochemistry).

“There are countless ways to functionalize graphene and other 2D materials into 2D electrolytes. Our work inspires scientists in a variety of disciplines to further explore the properties and possible uses of 2D electrolytes. Because 2D electrolytes are similar to biological or natural systems, they spontaneously self-assemble and cross-link, making nano-promising applications in filter membranes, drug delivery, and smart electronic textiles. We expect to be able to form fibers. ” Professor Castro Neto.

See also: “2D Electrolytes: Theory, Modeling, Synthesis, and characterization” Mariana CF Costa, Valeria S. Marangoni, Maxim Tursin, Alexandra Carvalho, Sharon X. Lim, Han TL Nguyen, Payruning, Shaox Jao, Ricardo K. Donato, Stephen J. Pennycook, Chorng H. Sow, Konstantin S. Novoselov and Antonio H. Castro Neto, May 12, 2021, Advanced material..
DOI: 10.1002 / adma.202100442

Ground-Breaking New Type of Intelligent Material – Many Potential Uses From Drug Delivery to Energy Storage Source link Ground-Breaking New Type of Intelligent Material – Many Potential Uses From Drug Delivery to Energy Storage

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