OUP accepted manuscript
National Science Review
The scalable and high-efficiency production of two-dimensional (2D) materials is a prerequisite to their commercial use. Currently, only graphene and graphene oxide can be produced on a ton scale, and the inability to produce other 2D materials on such a large scale hinders their technological applications. Here we report a grinding exfoliation method that uses micro-particles as force intermediates to resolve applied compressive forces into a multitude of small shear forces, inducing the
... inducing the highly-efficient exfoliation of layer materials. The method, referred to as intermediate-assisted grinding exfoliation (iMAGE), can be used for the large-scale production of many 2D materials. As an example, we have exfoliated bulk h-BN into 2D h-BN with large flake sizes, high quality and structural integrity, with a high exfoliation yield of 67%, a high production rate of 0.3 g h-1 and a low energy consumption of 3.01x10^6 J g-1. The production rate and energy consumption are one to two orders of magnitude better than previous results. Besides h-BN, this iMAGE technology has been used to exfoliate various layer materials such as graphite, black phosphorus, transition metal dichalcogenides, and metal oxides, proving its universality. Molybdenite concentrate, a natural low-cost and abundant mineral, was used as a demo for the large-scale exfoliation production of 2D MoS2 flakes. Our work indicates the huge potential of the iMAGE method to produce large amounts of various 2D materials, which paves the way for their commercial application.