Ion-Conductive, Viscosity-Tunable Hexagonal Boron Nitride Nanosheet Inks

Ana C.M. de Moraes, Woo Jin Hyun, Jung Woo T. Seo, Julia R. Downing, Jin Myoung Lim, Mark C. Hersam*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Liquid-phase exfoliation of layered solids holds promise for the scalable production of 2D nanosheets. When combined with suitable solvents and stabilizing polymers, the rheology of the resulting nanosheet dispersions can be tuned for a variety of additive manufacturing methods. While significant progress is made in the development of electrically conductive nanosheet inks, minimal effort is applied to ion-conductive nanosheet inks despite their central role in energy storage applications. Here, the formulation of viscosity-tunable hexagonal boron nitride (hBN) inks compatible with a wide range of printing methods that span the spectrum from low-viscosity inkjet printing to high-viscosity blade coating is demonstrated. The inks are prepared by liquid-phase exfoliation with ethyl cellulose as the polymer dispersant and stabilizer. Thermal annealing of the printed structures volatilizes the polymer, resulting in a porous microstructure and the formation of a nanoscale carbonaceous coating on the hBN nanosheets, which promotes high wettability to battery electrolytes. The final result is a printed hBN nanosheet film that possesses high ionic conductivity, chemical and thermal stability, and electrically insulating character, which are ideal characteristics for printable battery components such as separators. Indeed, lithium-ion battery cells based on printed hBN separators reveal enhanced electrochemical performance that exceeds commercial polymer separators.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1902245
JournalAdvanced Functional Materials
Issue number39
StatePublished - 1 Sep 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • blade coating
  • ethyl cellulose
  • hBN
  • inkjet printing
  • liquid-phase exfoliation


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