Researchers from the Clemson Nanomaterials Institute and the Ural Federal University in Russia have discovered a way to make an extremely thin oxygen selective membrane using graphene. Such membranes allow only oxygen into Li-O2 batteries while stopping or slowing water vapor intake. This could impede corrosion caused by ambient water vapor from air and push forward the usability of much-awaited Li-O2 batteries in electric vehicles and more.
The team has developed an in situ technique to induce pores in graphene by doping it with nitrogen during the growth process. Doping the graphene sheet with nitrogen inevitably breaks some carbon bonds in graphene, opening nanoscopic pores. The researchers observed that such pores in doped graphene selectively allow oxygen, leading to oxidation of the underlying copper foil, unlike pristine graphene.