Dr. Marcelo Lozada-Hidalgo (PI) is a Leverhulme Early Career Fellow at the University of Manchester Condensed Matter Physics group. His research is focused on the study of the transport of protons and other ions through atomically thin crystals.
He demonstrated that protons can transport through monolayer graphene and few-layered hexagonal boron nitride (Nature 2014). This established these crystals as promising membranes for fuel cells and other hydrogen related technologies. He then showed that these crystals are in fact sub-atomic selective membranes. They allow for the separation of protons from deuterons – nuclei of hydrogen isotopes – with the highest separation efficiency of any technology available today (Science 2016, Nature Comms. 2017).
Surprisingly, graphene proton transport membranes are ~100,000 times more sensitive to sunlight that commercial silicon photodiodes and most 2D materials photodetectors with a gain of ~104 protons per photon (Nature Nano. 2018).
His area of expertise is in ion transport through micro-scale and also commercial-size membranes. The techniques he typically uses include micro-fabrication techniques, especially fully suspended atomically thin crystals; precision electrical measurements; mass spectrometry and a range of characterisation techniques such as AFM, SEM and Raman.