Publication
Title
Transport of hydrogen isotopes through interlayer spacing in van der Waals crystals
Author
Abstract
Atoms start behaving as waves rather than classical particles if confined in spaces commensurate with their de Broglie wavelength. At room temperature this length is only about one angstrom even for the lightest atom, hydrogen. This restricts quantum-confinement phenomena for atomic species to the realm of very low temperatures(1-5). Here, we show that van der Waals gaps between atomic planes of layered crystals provide angstrom-size channels that make quantum confinement of protons apparent even at room temperature. Our transport measurements show that thermal protons experience a notably higher barrier than deuterons when entering van der Waals gaps in hexagonal boron nitride and molybdenum disulfide. This is attributed to the difference in the de Broglie wavelengths of the isotopes. Once inside the crystals, transport of both isotopes can be described by classical diffusion, albeit with unexpectedly fast rates comparable to that of protons in water. The demonstrated angstrom-size channels can be exploited for further studies of atomistic quantum confinement and, if the technology can be scaled up, for sieving hydrogen isotopes.
Language
English
Source (journal)
Nature nanotechnology
Publication
2018
ISSN
1748-3387
1748-3395
Volume/pages
13:6(2018), p. 468-+
ISI
000434715700015
Pubmed ID
29556005
Full text (Publisher's DOI)
Full text (publisher's version - intranet only)
UAntwerpen
Faculty/Department
Research group
Project info
Publication type
Subject
Affiliation
Publications with a UAntwerp address
External links
Web of Science
Record
Identification
Creation 10.07.2018
Last edited 15.07.2021
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