Developing a model critical in creating better devices

April 25, 2019

Water is everywhere. Understanding how it behaves at an intersection with another material and how it affects the performance of that material is helpful when trying to develop better products and devices. An undergraduate researcher at Virginia Tech is leading the way.

Chemical engineering junior Preeya Achari has now developed and recently published as first author a new computational model to better understand the relationship between water and a type of two-dimensional material that is composed of one-atom-thick layers that are flat like a sheet of paper.

The model will help predict the behavior of water at the surface of hexagonal boron nitride, a compound commonly used in cosmetic products, such as eyeshadow and lipstick.

The compound is similar to graphene, which has already shown great potential in lubrication, electronic devices, sensors, separation membranes, and as an additive for cosmetic products. Hexagonal boron nitride, however, has a few more favorable properties, such as its higher resistance to oxidation, flexibility, and greater strength-to-weight ratio -- properties that could also be useful in the production of nanotechnology, drug delivery, and harvesting electricity from sea water.

Prior to the development of the new model, understanding the molecular-level structure of water at the contact surface with hexagonal boron nitride proved very challenging, if not impossible. The development may provide more control in performance of devices made with hexagonal boron nitride and water.

"This knowledge can help in improving the performance of boron nitride-based electronic devices," Achari said.

Achari works in the computational lab of chemical engineering assistant professor Sanket Deshmukh. She developed the model in close collaboration with others in Deshmukh's lab, including post-doctoral researcher Karteek Bejagam and visiting scholar Samrendra Singh.

Achari arrived at Virginia Tech looking for a challenge and was drawn to working with the unfamiliar field of computational materials science -- a field that utilizes computational methods and supercomputers to understand existing materials and accelerate materials discovery and development. She found Deshmukh's lab during her sophomore year and has balanced her time as an undergraduate researcher and a full-time student ever since.

"It is extremely satisfying to see the results of my lab's hard work and to look back at everything I contributed and learned along the way," Achari said. "I also value knowing that the work that my lab and I do will go on to benefit other researchers in my field."

In addition to her recently published journal article, Achari was also awarded best oral presentation at the 2018 Materials Research Society meeting in Boston, Massachusetts.

Virginia Tech

Related Boron Nitride Articles from Brightsurf:

Boron nitride nanofilms for protection from bacterial and fungal infections
NUST MISIS material scientists have presented antibacterial nano-coatings based on boron nitride, which are highly effective against microbial pathogens (up to 99.99%).

Reducing nitrogen with boron and beer
The industrial conversion of nitrogen to ammonium provides fertiliser for agriculture.

Boron nitride destroys PFAS 'forever' chemicals PFOA, GenX
Rice University chemical engineers have discovered a photocatalyst that can destroy 99% of the 'forever' chemical PFOA in laboratory tests on polluted water.

New study unveils ultrathin boron nitride films for next-generation electronics
A recent study, affiliated with South Korea's Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology (UNIST) has unveiled a novel material that could enable major leaps in the miniaturization of electronic devices.

Researchers discover new boron-lanthanide nanostructure
A newly discovered nanocluster has a geometry that ''has not been observed in chemistry heretofore,'' the researchers say.

Oriented hexagonal boron nitride foster new type of information carrier
Present computers use the presence or absence of charge (0s and 1s) to encode information, where the physical motion of charges consume energy and causes heat.

Spin-dependent processes in the 2D material hexagonal boron nitride
Quantum technology was once considered to be something very expensive and available only to the largest research centers.

High-quality boron nitride grown at atmospheric pressure
Graphene Flagship researchers reported a significant step forward in growing monoisotopic hexagonal boron nitride at atmospheric pressure for the production of large and very high-quality crystals.

New boron material of high hardness created by plasma chemical vapor deposition
Researchers used microwave-plasma chemical vapor deposition to create thin crystal films of a novel boron-rich boron-carbide material.

Novel approach to enhance performance of graphitic carbon nitride
In a report published in NANO, scientists from China underline the importance of defect engineering to promote catalytic performance by providing a simple and efficient way for modifying and optimizing metal-free semiconductor photocatalyst graphitic carbon nitride (g-C3N4) to solve the dual problems of environmental pollution and lack of fossil resources.

Read More: Boron Nitride News and Boron Nitride Current Events is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to