Hydrogen Caged in Carbon

"Hydrogen Caged in Carbon--Exploration of Novel Carbon-Hydrogen Interactions"  (PI: A. Lueking; co-PIs Prof. John Badding (Chemistry), Vincent Crespi (Physics)); Department of Energy (Basic Energy Sciences)

The main objective of the proposed work is to explore hydrogen trapping via repulsive interactions in carbon cages.  These efforts are inspired by experimental observations which suggest unique carbon-hydrogen interaction for a mechanochemically produced carbon/hydrogen hybrid material, which include hydrogen evolution at ambient temperature with Raman spectra matching molecular hydrogen and the formation of sp3-rehybridized, crystalline carbon after H2 evolution.  We are using the unique chemical reaction conditions provided by mechanochemistry, both dynamic shearing/compression via mechanical milling and static high-pressure chemistry, to form hydrogen caged in carbon.  We are probing the penetration of hydrogen into carbon materials under extreme conditions of pressure wherein hydrogen solubility is expected to increase and carbon is expected to restructure to minimize volume via a mixed sp2/sp3 hydrogenated state. The work directly addresses Department of Energy goals to explore novel materials and mechanisms for hydrogen storage.  Current candidates for solid-state materials are approaching theoretical limits without approaching the storage targets at practical operating conditions: New materials and ideas are needed to meet DOE hydrogen storage goals.  Hydrogen trapped in a carbon cage, captured through repulsive interactions, is a novel concept in hydrogen storage.  Trapping hydrogen via repulsive interactions borrows an idea from macroscale hydrogen storage (i.e. compressed gas storage tanks) and reapplies these concepts on the nanoscale in specially designed molecular containers.  The work will also search for experimental evidence of several structures/transformations that have been theoretically predicted, but as of yet, not experimentally verified or observed.  These include the rehybridization of sp2 structures to sp3 upon the application of pressure and hydrogen, and the formation of carbon clathrates, a close cousin of silica clathrates.

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