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NETL Attends Meeting To Advance Atomically Thin Coatings for Superior Materials
Center for Atomically Thin Multifunctional Coatings

NETL took part in a recent meeting with experts from across the national lab system, academia and industry who gathered at Pennsylvania State University to discuss the development of atom-thin two-dimensional (2D) coatings with wide-ranging applications.

The Center for Atomically Thin Multifunctional Coatings (ATOMIC) Industry Advisory Board meeting, which was held May 21-22, provided opportunities to attend project updates, poster sessions and presentations.

ATOMIC consists of three main research sites — Penn State University, Rice University and Boise State University. It is supported by an advisory board consisting of representatives from industry and the national lab system and focuses on advanced materials production.

“The center’s research involves designing and developing 2D materials with unique physical, optical, electrical and chemical properties,” said NETL’s James Ferguson, business development advisor, Research Partnerships & Tech Transfer. “These materials, which range in thickness from one to a few atoms, can enable new technologies that address various challenges, including corrosion, oxidation and scale formation, that impact transportation, pipeline systems, building and construction and many other segments of the U.S. economy.”

Ferguson represented NETL at the advisory board meeting and will report back to NETL’s Materials Engineering and Manufacturing leadership team. Ferguson also presented on NETL’s technical capabilities to help identify potential research partners and met with potential interns and career employees.

“NETL has made tremendous strides through its internal research and in collaboration with partners to develop atomically thin materials with unique capabilities that solve fundamental scientific and technological challenges,” Ferguson said. “Therefore, it was crucial for NETL to attend this meeting to explore new partnerships and find talent to advance this technology.”

Research completed by NETL in the field of atomically thin materials includes the development of low-cost graphene, which consists of tightly bonded carbon atoms arranged in a hexagonal lattice. Graphene is more electrically conductive than copper, possesses extremely high thermal conductivity and is stronger (tensile strength) than any known material.

Aerospace engineers are investigating graphene as a key enabling technology for the next generation of aircraft and space vehicles. In the automotive industry, graphene could play a major role in the future of transportation due to its broad range of performance attributes. For instance, graphene can improve lithium-ion battery charging speed and capacity and can be added to polymers to decrease automobile weight.

Other applications for graphene include use as an additive for stronger concrete and cement. NETL has also partnered with the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign to develop graphene materials for computer memory devices and microelectronics.

NETL is a U.S. Department of Energy national laboratory that drives innovation and delivers solutions for an environmentally sustainable and prosperous energy future. By leveraging its world-class talent and research facilities, NETL is ensuring affordable, abundant and reliable energy that drives a robust economy and national security, while developing technologies to manage carbon across the full life cycle, enabling environmental sustainability for all Americans.