Manufacturing of aerogels and membranes from hexagonal boron nitride (h-BN) is much more difficult than from graphene or graphene oxides because of the poor dispersibility of h-BN in water, which limits its exfoliation and preparation of colloidal solutions. Here, a simple, one-step mechano-chemical process to exfoliate and functionalize h-BN into highly water-dispersible, few-layer h-BN containing amino groups is presented. The colloidal solutions of few-layer h-BN can have unprecedentedly high concentrations, up to 30 mg ml-1, and are stable for up to several months. They can be used to produce ultralight aerogels with a density of 1.4 mg cm-3, which is ~1,500 times less than bulk h-BN, and freestanding membranes simply by cryodrying and filtration, respectively. The material shows strong blue light emission under ultraviolet excitation, in both dispersed and dry state.
W. Lei et al., "Boron Nitride Colloidal Solutions, Ultralight Aerogels and Freestanding Membranes through One-Step Exfoliation and Functionalization," Nature Communications, vol. 6, Nature Publishing Group, Jan 2015.
The definitive version is available at https://doi.org/10.1038/ncomms9849
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