Country for PR: Japan
Contributor: Kyodo News JBN
Monday, March 14 2022 - 19:00
Exfoliation of Zeolites into Solution Produces Porous Monolayers: WPI-MANA
TSUKUBA, Japan, Mar. 14, 2022 /Kyodo JBN-AsiaNet/ --

A pioneering study at the International Center for Materials Nanoarchitectonics 
(WPI-MANA) has resulted in the first direct exfoliation of zeolites into a 
liquid suspension of monolayers. This breakthrough provides proof of the 
presence of monolayers, and could lead to their use in the creation of 
catalysts, nanodevices, drug delivery systems and other products with tailored 


Some two-dimensional (2D) materials, such as graphene, exhibit a variety of 
unique properties thanks to their molecular thinness and large size, as well as 
their 2D anisotropy. Catalysts and electrode materials that take advantage of 
nanosheets' high surface area are a promising field, but the 2D anisotropy 
prevents efficient transfer of ions and molecules within the materials. 
Therefore, 2D materials with through-holes are attracting attention, but so far 
there have been few examples of them.

Zeolites are typical porous materials and some of them have a layered 
structure. So exfoliating them in a single 2D layer could result in nanosheets 
with a regular pore structure. Although there have been reports of the 
synthesis of zeolite nanosheets in trace yields, large quantities of the 
substance have not been obtained at a usable level.

A WPI-MANA group succeeded in synthesizing zeolite nanosheets (MWW and FER 
types) by exfoliating them into a single layer by greatly swelling the layered 
zeolite in a solution containing organic ammonium ions. 

Dispersing the zeolites into liquids provides the most effective approach to 
their practical exploitation to fabricate materials with particular activity 
and functionality. The suspended layers can be deposited on supports or 
restacked into hierarchical structures alone or in combination with other 2D 
materials to produce solids with useful properties.

The exfoliation and proof of the presence of monolayers in the colloids open 
new possibilities of synthesizing functional hybrid and hierarchically 
structured materials. The researchers also made predictions about potential 
applications of zeolite monolayer colloids based on the anisotropic physical 
properties of 2D materials.

This research was conducted by Takayoshi Sasaki (MANA Principal Investigator, 
Group Leader, Soft Chemistry Group, WPI-MANA, NIMS) and his collaborators.

Research Highlights Vol. 75


Source: International Center for Materials Nanoarchitectonics (WPI-MANA), 
National Institute for Materials Science (NIMS)