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Direct Separation of Two-Dimensional Materials from the Surface of Liquid Metal Catalysts

Project description

Seamless synthesis and separation of exotic 2D materials using a liquid catalyst

Imagine melting a candle and letting the drops fall onto a piece of patterned sandpaper to cool versus dropping them into a bowl of water. Clearly, retrieving them nearly untouched or undamaged will be much easier from the surface of the water than from the surface of the rough sandpaper. This is one way to describe what currently happens with high-tech 2D materials that are adsorbed from their gas phase onto solid catalysts. The synthesis and subsequent transfer of these materials results in numerous defects, contamination and mechanical stress, compromising their highly sought-after properties. The EU-funded DirectSepa project is introducing liquid metal catalysts to replace solid ones in these processes. The technology promises unparalleled production speed and quality and could usher in a new era of innovation for 2D materials.


Two-dimensional materials (2DMs) such as graphene, germanene, h-BN, transition metal dichalcogenides and others are currently amongst the most intensively studied classes of materials that hold great promise for future applications in many technological areas. However, the main hurdle against practical utilization of 2DMs is the lack of effective mass production and transfer techniques of high-quality 2DMs to satisfy the growing demands for scientific and technological applications. The current state-of-the-art synthesis method of 2DMs involves the adsorption of gas-phase precursors on a solid catalyst. This process is slow by nature, inefficient, and environmentally unfriendly. The produced 2DMs are often defective, contaminated, and suffering from very high residual stress, compromising their unique physio-chemical properties for the expected applications. During our ongoing FET-Open project of LMCat, we have studied a radically new synthesis method for growing 2DMs which employed a liquid metal catalyst (LMCat) instead of a solid one. Our recent experimental and theoretical evidence suggests that using LMCats bears the prospect of 2DMs with unprecedented quality and production speed. The major success of this project has motivated us to follow up on this via this industrially oriented proposal with the aim of demonstrating the possibility of continuous graphene production via performing its simultaneous growth and its direct separation from the LMCat. This is to increase the technology readiness level from TRL2 in the current FET-Open project of LMCat to TRL4 at the end of the proposed FET-Proact project of DirectSepa. To tackle the unprecedented challenge of direct separation, a multidisciplinary scientific and technological consortium with ample experience in this due to its past involvement with the FET-Open LMCat project, was put together. Success of the DirectSepa project has the potential to revolutionize the 2DM production market.

Call for proposal


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Sub call




Net EU contribution
€ 146 109,00
Rapenburg 70
2311 EZ Leiden

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West-Nederland Zuid-Holland Agglomeratie Leiden en Bollenstreek
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Other funding
€ 56 651,00

Participants (5)