By Clarissa Towle
In a New York Times Science cover article published last month, the Molecular Foundry’s Inorganic Nanostructures Facilities Director, Jeff Urban, discusses the intense research interest in two-dimensional (2D) materials.
“There’s been absolutely explosive interest,” he told the Times. “There’s no other way to characterize it.”
Dr. Urban uses 2D materials such as graphene nanoribbons embedded with magnesium crystals to make a new kind of hydrogen fuel cells. His lab also uses 2D carbon in other forms — carbon sheets and nanotubes — to make wearable thermoelectrics. “Thermoelectric devices harvest thermal energy from the environment and turn it into useful electrical energy,” Dr. Urban says. “Such ‘soft thermoelectrics’ are useful for personal wearables, internet of things, and medical devices, as they are self-powered. “