Finally some good news about 2D Materials (although perhaps not necessarily for graphene) as the number of commercially available materials just doubled.
Thomas Swan and Co, who are probably the only company in the history of nanomaterials to manage to exploit 2D materials without over promising and then bankrupting themselves trying to live up to overinflated expectations, have just launched their first first commercial 2D Boron Nitride products.
People have been talking about born nitride nanotubes for almost as long as they have about the carbon versions (1994 to be exact), and they have been even harder to both manufacture and find applications for. But 2D Boron Nitride however is potentially as wonderful as the graphene wonder martial, but more practical. A recent Materials Word article describes how
“For example, in contrast to graphene, BN is a good electrical insulator. Thus, it can be used as composite nanofiller, especially in electronics packaging, reinforcing the polymer without making it conductive, which would be catastrophic for electric circuits.
‘BN is also more resistant to oxidation and can be used in air atmosphere at higher temperatures than graphene. The highly porous structure of BN aerogel renders it a very poor heat conductor, so the material can be used as a thermal insulator at high temperatures, for example, in aerospace applications. Finally, 2D BN is fluorescent, and therefore could have interesting applications in optoelectronic devices, laser emitters, bioimaging, and drug delivery.’
Manufacturing high grade Boron Nitride is not trivial but Swan probably use the same shear mixing process for Boron Nitride as they do for graphene which gave them a head start. This involves (in its simplest form) a kitchen blender and some washing up liquid as demonstrated below by the incomparable Robert Murray Smith.