Disordered atoms in surface materials are the key to better storage of hydrogen

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LLNL team proved that in many cases, these atoms are actually dynamic and disordered: This is a surprising phenomenon, contrary to the traditional understanding of most solid-state surface behaviors. Surface disorder means that each atomic site has different local properties. According to the team’s research, some of these sites can make the dissociation of hydrogen molecules easier, which in turn is expected to accelerate the activation of materials during hydrogen storage

Disordered atoms in surface materials are the key to better storage of hydrogen

these findings also have implications for other applications. In addition to hydrogen storage, metal borides and borates can also be used in superconductivity, electrocatalysis, optoelectronics and as heat-resistant and corrosion-resistant coatings. In these applications, the specification of the surface atomic arrangement of boron plays a great role in determining the overall performance

when designing silicon for materials whose functions are closely related to their surface configuration, such as hydrogen storage, superconductivity and electrocatalytic reactivity, if the assumption of static and ordered surface is not true, the results will be greatly different

“what we found here is a special example that shows that the surface of crystalline materials can actually be amorphous and dynamic. We need to strictly re-examine some of our basic assumptions in the field of surface science,” said Li Sichi, a LLNL material scientist and the main author of a paper published in nature communication

“if the surface is crystalline and ordered, every part is basically the same. Disordered surfaces will produce a series of surface reactivity. If we can use this ability, it may be a new method to customize and adjust the surface function to achieve faster energy storage and conversion,” said Brandon wood, a LLNL materials scientist and co-author, He leads LLNL’s material based hydrogen storage team