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2D material interactions with liquids probed with nanoscopy tools

Project description

Innovative tools take a very close look at nanoscale interfaces

Engineering the interfaces between two dissimilar materials is a key task in device development because it can play such a critical role in functionality and performance. The structure and chemical makeup of a solid in contact with a liquid can affect parameters such as charge transport, selectivity of sensors, and electrode stability. Often, defects are engineered into interfacial materials to optimise function. The EU-funded 2D-Liquid project will develop novel nanoscopy tools that work in situ at ambient conditions. They will be used to investigate and characterise the role of surface defects in the dynamics of surface charges with a focus on 2D solid nanomaterials and liquid electrolytes.


In this project, we will introduce a myriad of nanoscopy techniques to investigate the liquid-solid interactions taking advantage of either engineered defects or defects already hosted in 2D materials. We will address the pertinent question on the mechanism of reactivity of 2D materials with aqueous electrolytes at ambient conditions and the role of the defects on the dynamics of interfacial charges. At the start of the project, we will explore defects hosted in two classes of 2D materials: hexagonal boron nitride (h-BN) and transition metal dichalcogenides (TMDs). Our plans are to define strategies to extend defect imaging combined with other characterization approaches to a multitude of 2D materials. In parallel, we will explore the role of interfacial liquid taking advantage of novel nanofluidic platforms termed angstrom slits that will allow fine-tuning the balance between 2D and 3D liquid. To control defect density in 2D materials, we will use approaches based on focused ion beam irradiation with Xenon and Helium ions
We will adapt and develop different nanoscopy tools such as single-molecule localization microscopy (SMLM), single-particle tracking, Point Accumulation for Imaging in Nanoscale Topography (PAINT) Minimal Emission Fluxes Microscopy MINFLUX and Scanning Ion Conductance Microscopy (SICM). All nanoscopy modalities used in 2D-LIQUID project can operate in –situ under ambient conditions and are compatible with the probing of defect chemistry, charge dynamics in different pH environments, and under different solvents or solvent mixtures. We believe that obtained insights regarding the role of defects in dynamics of the surface charges will shed light on the water and ion transport through nanopores, nanotubes but also ultimately narrow angstrom. Our findings will propel the development of nanofluidics, biosensing, energy harvesting, molecular separation and other nanoscale technologies that exploit liquid 2D-material interfaces.

Host institution

Net EU contribution
€ 3 499 845,00
1015 Lausanne

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Schweiz/Suisse/Svizzera Région lémanique Vaud
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Total cost
€ 3 499 845,00

Beneficiaries (1)