A research team being led by Northwestern University engineers and Argonne National Laboratory scientists have made a discovery about the role of ionic interaction within graphene and water that could lead to new, more energy-efficient battery electrodes or pave the way to neuromorphic computing applications (computers that mimic the workings of the human brain.)
The discovery was made using computer model simulations and X-ray reflectivity experiments. The team studied how two oppositely charged ions placed in different positions in water segregated by two graphene surfaces. They found the strength of their interaction was not the same when the positions of the ions were interchanged, a phenomenon the researchers called “non-reciprocal interactions” that had not been previously predicted by electrostatic theory, Graphene-Info writes.
“Every time you have interactions with ions in matter, the medium is very important. Water plays a vital role in mediating interactions between ions, molecules, and interfaces, which lead to a variety of natural and technological processes,” said research team lead Monica Olvera de La Cruz, Professor of Materials Science and Engineering. “Yet, there is much we don’t understand about how water-mediated interactions are influenced by nanoconfinement at the nanoscale.”