Beyond Graphene: Is Borophene the next wonder material for energy solutions?

Beyond Graphene: Is Borophene the next wonder material for energy solutions?

By Jorge Hurtado

Due to its revolutionary properties, graphene once promised to transform multiple industries. However, the practical deployment of graphene-based innovations has not fully materialized. This has led scientists to explore other two-dimensional materials, such as borophene.

This article examines borophene’s capabilities and its potential to reshape diverse industries.

What is borophene?

Borophene is a two-dimensional material composed of boron atoms arranged in a hexagonal lattice. It is similar to the interconnected hexagons found in a honeycomb structure. First synthesized in 2015, this material was created on silver substrates under specific conditions that favor its stability.

The atomic structure of borophene shows varying patterns depending on the metal surface it’s grown on. This reflects its unique planar configuration distinct from other boron clusters. Such versatility in structural formation points to the potential of borophene in different applications. 

How is borophene made?  

Borophene is synthesized by depositing individual boron atoms onto a silver surface. This process occurs under ultra-high vacuum conditions using molecular beam epitaxy. Think of it like arranging building blocks on a smooth surface with extremely high precision. The molecular beam epitaxy allows scientists to control specific properties and configurations of borophene.

Borophene vs graphene: What are the advantages of borophene over graphene?

Due to its two-dimensional boron structure, borophene can adapt to various lattice configurations not achievable with graphene. A material with better flexibility properties can withstand bending and stretching without losing its performance.

Better conductivity

Borophene’s unique electronic structure gives it superior electrical conductivity, characterized by anisotropic and metallic properties. This is due to the high mobility of electrons within boron’s atomic arrangement in its lattice.

More versatile

Borophene’s versatility is attributed to its diverse atomic configurations. This adaptability allows it to modify its electronic band structure effectively. Its ability to adjust properties enhances performance in specific use cases.

Higher hydrogen storage capacity

The Borophene structure enables more effective bonding with H2 atoms compared to graphene. This advantage results in a higher H2 storage capacity, which enhances its suitability for energy storage.

Stronger and lighter

Borophene exhibits a higher strength-to-weight ratio, providing a lightweight yet strong material. By modifying its concentration of hollow hexagons, it achieves greater stiffness than graphene.


An attractive property for biomedical applications is that borophene has been reported to exhibit lower cytotoxicity. This is a key requirement to be used as a material compatible with biological tissues.


Chirality is a property where a structure does not match its mirror image perfectly. This characteristic is crucial because the shape and orientation of molecules influence their interactions within the body. Borophene’s ability to adapt to diverse lattice structures makes it ideal for applications like drug development and sensor technology.

Superconductor capabilities

There is evidence that borophene exhibits superconductivity at certain temperatures and compositions. It can even allow zero-resistance conductivity properties, which are suitable for electronics and quantum computing applications. 

A breakthrough material for energy solutions: 

This section will examine how borophene serves as a critical component in energy applications. This includes its role in battery anodes, hydrogen storage, supercapacitors, and gas sensing.

Anode material for EV batteries

The honeycomb borophene (h-borophene) is a specific configuration where boron atoms form a honeycomb-like lattice structure. This arrangement has the potential to perform better than any other anode material for Li-ion and Na-ion batteries. 

The maximum theoretical storage capacity of h-borophene was determined to reach 1860 mAh·g−1 for NIBs and up to 5268 mAh·g−1 for LIBs. In the case of LIBs, this indicates that the potential storage capacity of h-borophene can be as 14X higher than that of a commercially used graphite (372mAh*g-1). This is the highest theoretical capacity among all the 2D materials discovered for LIBs. 

Increased hydrogen storage capacity

When combined with lithium atoms (Li-decorated), borophene can achieve a high hydrogen storage capacity of up to 9.1 wt% at room temperature. For every 100 grams of Li-decorated borophene, there is the potential to store up to 9.1 grams of hydrogen.

Robust electrode material

Exfoliated few-layer borophene sheets show potential for application as high-performance supercapacitor electrode materials. Borophene also exhibits an impressive electrochemical performance

Tested devices operated effectively across a wide range of electrical voltages, reaching up to 3.0 volts. It also boasts impressive energy storage capacity, with a high density of 46.1 watt-hours per kilogram when delivering at a power density of 478.5 watts per kilogram. The devices maintained 88.7% of initial energy storage, even after 6000 cycles.

Gas sensing and adsorption

Χ3-borophene is a unique arrangement of borophene and provides a metallic electronic structure advantageous for gas capture and sensing. Analyses of charge transfer and density of states reveal that χ3-borophene selectively adsorbs harmful gases. This helps it to form covalent bonds with nitrogen and oxygen atoms during chemisorption. 

Borophene is known to adsorb SO2. The gas molecules are disassociated and adsorbed onto the borophene surface. This method offers a way to generate O2 while adsorbing harmful substances. It provides relevance for the elaboration of gas sensing devices used during industrial production, clinical medicine, and environmental monitoring.

Key challenges and limitations to overcome: 

Borophene has captured widespread attention due to its standout properties across various applications. However, there are several challenges that must be overcome before its full potential can be achieved.


Borophene, a material with a highly active surface, is easily affected by oxidation. This can compromise its stability. To address this challenge, researchers have proposed a method called covalent modification. This involves chemically altering borophene by adding hydrogen atoms or attaching organic molecules to its surface. These modifications have enhanced borophene’s stability, increasing its resistance to oxidation. As a result, borophene remains useful for a wider range of applications longer.

Large scale growth

To scale up the production of borophene, it is crucial to establish the right conditions for its growth. This includes determining the appropriate temperature, materials used to make borophene and surface on which borophene is grown. These parameters are essential for successful large-scale production using the method of chemical vapor deposition.

Substrate transfer

Borophene is typically synthesized on specific substrates like Ag/Al (111) surfaces. However, it must be transferred to desired substrates for practical applications. The adhesion energy between borophene and the substrate poses a challenge. Thus, a transfer method similar to the mechanical exfoliation of graphene is required.

Innovative developments in SUNUM:

The Sabanci University Nanotechnology Research and Application Center (SUNUM) in Turkey reported that the center has already made significant strides in manufacturing borophene. SUNUM claims to have found borophene’s potential for enhancing energy storage devices, particularly in EV batteries and supercapacitors. 

SUNUM research indicates that adding 3% borophene into graphite-based batteries increases capacity by 20-30%. Similarly, adding 10% borophene increases the specific capacity of supercapacitors by 75%.

How can PreScouter help?

Borophene continues to be effective in high-demand applications and has even surpassed graphene at bench levels. Hence, strategic investments in research and development are essential for companies to drive innovation.

PreScouter can guide you to strategically capitalize on borophene’s transformative potential in different sectors, such as:

  • Energy storage: Establishing R&D collaborations across research institutions to integrate borophene into next-gen batteries for EV and renewable energy markets.
  • Supercapacitors: Providing the latest technological approaches of incorporating borophene into supercapacitor designs to achieve higher energy and power densities in electronic devices.
  • Hydrogen storage: Exploring borophene’s exceptional hydrogen-storage capacity to develop advanced hydrogen storage systems, positioning companies at the forefront of clean energy solutions.
  • Environmental monitoring: Assisting in developing borophene-based gas sensors for better detection and safety compliance.
  • Healthcare: Facilitating research to use borophene’s unique interactions for innovative drug delivery and medical diagnostics solutions.

If you have any questions or would like to know if we can help your business with its innovation challenges, please contact us here or email us at

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