Boron: from energy storage to nanomaterials
Boron is an amazing element when it comes to energy storage and 2D materials. Recent research activities in the field of hydrogen storage have led to novel syntheses of known compounds, as well as brand new boron-containing compounds with highly interesting properties. For example, NaB3H8 releases high-purity H2 during hydrolysis and forms highly soluble end-products, and it is therefore highly promising for liquid-phase hydrogen storage. Boron is also a key element of the electrolyte salt for the emerging Na-ion and Mg batteries. For instance, sodium-difluoro(oxalato)borate (NaDFOB) outperforms the most widely used commercial salts for Na-ion batteries in terms of rate capability and cycling performance. Boron and Nitrogen together form a layered compound, hexagonal boron nitride, which is isostructural to graphene. The recent findings have seen hydroxylated boron nitride dramatically improve the thermal response of temperature-sensitive hydrogels, which are being studied for drug delivery and bionic valves.
Dr. Zhenguo Huang received a Ph.D. at the University of Wollongong, Australia, in 2007. This was followed by a postdoctoral appointment at The Ohio State University in the U.S. In 2011, he came back to the University of Wollongong as a Vice-Chancellor’s Postdoctoral Research Fellow. In the same year, he won a Discovery Early Career Research Award (DECRA) from the Australian Research Council. His research is centered on boron chemistry. His research interests are in the fields of hydrogen storage materials, electrolytes for Na-ion, Mg, and Mg2+/Li+ hybrid batteries, and two-dimensional boron nitride nanosheets.