One of the main hurdles to overcome before hydrogen can become a widespread energy source in practical applications is the problem of hydrogen storage and transport, particularly for use in mobile applications.
In this respect, the novel material graphene (single or few sheets of graphite) has recently attracted attention as a promising storage medium. Indeed, graphene is lightweight, chemically stable and exhibits attractive physico-chemical properties for hydrogen adsorption.
The possibility of implementing hydrogen storage systems activated through external magnetic fields and that work at constant temperature and pressure is under investigation. On-going activities include:
- Synthesis and characterization of graphene on silicon carbide (SiC) and metal substrates (Fig. 2).
- Studies of hydrogen adsorption and desorption on as-grown mono and few layer graphene.
- Functionalization of graphene surfaces with chemical species to enhance hydrogen adsorption.
- Controlled modification of graphene curvature and few layer graphene interplane separation to maximize hydrogen adsorption.
- two dedicated chemical vapour deposition (CVD) systems for the production of graphene on SiC and on metals.
- Atomic force microscopy (AFM).
- Variable temperature UHV scanning tunnelling microscopy (STM) and spectroscopy (STS).
- Scanning electron microscopy (SEM).
- Transmission electron microscopy (TEM).
- Raman spectroscopy.
- Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR).
- Auger electron spectroscopy.
- Highly sensitive gravimetric balances.