Researchers have found that materials that contain thin layers of water are able to hold and transfer energy better than the ones that do not. This proof of concept opens the possibility to use water as ion transport.

The researchers from North Carolina State University has discovered an interesting finding in their latest research. They found that materials that contain atomically thin layers of water are able to store and transfer energy faster than similar materials that do not incorporate the water layers.

This finding leads to an interesting question about liquid materials such as water and other solvents to work in the energy storage technology for the future. However, the research is still in the very early stage, that requires further research.

“This is a proof of concept," said one of the corresponding author of the research, Veronica Augustyn, an assistant professor of materials science and engineering at North Carolina State University. "But the idea of using water or other solvents to ‘tune’ the transport of ions in a layered material is very exciting.”

Augustyn and her four colleagues from the Department of Materials Science & Engineering at the North Carolina State University co-wrote the paper, which has been published in the Chemistry of Materials Journal. Other co-authors are the lead author James B. Mitchell with William C. Lo, Arda Genc and James LeBeau

The researchers compared two materials, one is a crystalline tungsten oxide and the second one is a layered, crystalline tungsten oxide hydrate, consist of crystalline tungsten oxide layers separated by atomically thin layers of water.

Tungsten oxide or tungsten trioxide (WO3) is a chemical compound as a result of the alkali treatment of tungsten ore. The compound is primarily used for x-ray screen phosphor, gas sensors and to give fire proofing layers to fabrics. Watch the synthesizing process of the tungsten oxide below: