Graphene structure diagram
About two months ago, Nobel Prize-winning physicist and University of Manchester professor Andre Heim revealed during an exclusive interview with a reporter from Science and Technology Daily that he was looking for current graphite to avoid being crowded with research from many people. New fields that are not yet involved in ene research. At the beginning of the new year, look at the papers published in the latest issue of Science magazine. A new exploration of graphene applications led by a team at the University of Manchester led by Heim is related to the "Graphene simplifies the production of heavy water and has Help clean up nuclear waste."
On January 6th, the reporter interviewed the academician of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Dr. Liuzhong Li, Professor of the School of Chemistry and Molecular Engineering of Peking University, Dr. Yichun Li, Secretary General of the China Graphene Industry Technology Innovation Strategic Alliance, and the â€œfounder of the Chinese graphene industryâ€. Prof. Feng Guanping, who is called, made interpretations and comments on this new research result.
Graphene film is like a sieve
In this study, the University of Manchester's research team used graphene membranes to filter out different hydrogen isotopes, helium and neon, to greatly simplify the process of heavy water production and to help clean up nuclear waste, promising to produce energy-efficient, efficient, and Cheap and ideal filter.
For hydrogen fusion, the hydrogen isotope, helium (also weighed hydrogen), is used as an important energy source for thermonuclear reactions and is also widely used in analytical and chemical tracking technologies. Oxygen, the heavy oxide of thorium, can be used as a decelerator in the fission of uranium nuclear, thus requiring thousands of tons of heavy water in the operation of nuclear power plants. Helium is the heaviest isotope of hydrogen. Its atoms contain one proton and two neutrons. It is radioactive and must be safely removed as a byproduct of power generation in nuclear fission factories. The future development of nuclear technology will be based on the nuclear fusion of these two heavy isotopes.
Andre said in the paper that the film made of graphene can be used as a sieve to separate protons from the isotopes of hydrogen and the heavier nuclei.
The Manitow researchers tested the atomic nuclei of hafnium, which can pass through the boron nitride film of graphene and its sister material. Although existing theories cannot predict the difference between the two isotope infiltrations, they fully expect that the deuteron core can easily pass.
The researchers were surprised to find that plutonium can not only be effectively screened and separated by an atomic thick film, but also that the process is very efficient. This discovery makes single-layer graphene and boron nitride attractive to a rich mixture of lanthanum and cerium as a separation membrane.
Expect to become an ideal filter
At present, the separation technology used to produce heavy water requires a considerable amount of energy consumption, and there are some major problems in science and industry. The use of graphene now is expected to make this process more efficient.
According to the report of the Physicist Organization Network on January 5, the use of such graphene membranes may mean that the process of producing heavy water in nuclear power plants will reduce the energy consumption by 10 times, and the process will be more simplified and the cost will be cheaper.
In addition, the researchers found that this separation is completely scalable. Using chemical vapor deposition (CVD) graphene, they established centimeter-sized devices to efficiently pump hydrogen from a mixture of helium and hydrogen.
The first author of this paper, Dr. Marcelo Rosada Hidalgo, a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Manitow, said: â€œThis is the first time that we have demonstrated the first membrane that distinguishes subatomic particles at room temperature. Now we have found that it is fully extensible. The technology hopes to find a practical application soon."
Professor Irina, the co-author of the paper, said, â€œWe were surprised to find that a membrane could be used to separate individual subatomic particles. It is very simple to set up this setup and it is hoped that the application of these filters will be seen not only in analytical and chemical tracer techniques. Can also help clean up radioactive helium from nuclear waste."
How Chinese Industry Experts Reviews
After seeing the foreign media coverage of this news, the frontline experts and scholars of China's graphene industry have heatedly discussed and paid close attention. Science and Technology Daily reporter conducted an interview.
Academician Liu Zhongfan commented on this research result when interviewed by a reporter from Science and Technology Daily. â€œIt is very creative! People already know that only protons can penetrate graphene, and now it is further discovered that only the lightest hydrogen isotopes can pass through. This is A new discovery can be applied to heavy water separation, and the treatment of nuclear waste will also be a more energy-efficient and efficient method of concentration. Although it is only a demonstration work, it has great potential for commercialization in the future. However, the actual graphene And boron nitride is not so perfect, there are many structural defects, something larger will also pass through. This may be a breakthrough in the future research efforts."
Dr. Li Yichun pointed out, â€œI feel that this study is similar to the principle of graphene seawater desalination. It utilizes the adsorption and filtration characteristics of graphene and will be a new application area in the future.â€
Professor Feng Guanping, who once served as the founding director of the Institute of Shenzhen Tsinghua University and the Honorary Chairman of the Jiangnan Graphene Institute, said, â€œIn theory, this research can be done well, involving the use of graphene membranes in nuclear waste treatment. The original heavy water production process is greatly simplified. However, it is only at the thesis stage. Whether it can play a role in the actual situation remains to be seen.â€ (Reporter Hua Ling)
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