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Two-dimensional (2D) materials are attracting significant attention due to their unique properties. The most famous example is graphene, an atomically thin layer of carbon atoms: but recently an entirely new family of 2D materials, early transition metal carbides and carbonitrides, was discovered.

The selective etching of the A-group element from a MAX phase results in the formation of these 2D layered materials, dubbed “MXenes”; of which eleven different carbides and carbonitrides have been reported to date. Not only are individual layers formed after exfoliation, but also multi-layer particles and conical scrolls with radii < 20 nm. DFT simulations have shown that the band gap of MXenes can be tuned from metallic to semiconductor (2 eV) by changing their surface termination, and their elastic constants along the basal plane are expected to be higher than that of the binary carbides. Oxygen or OH terminated MXenes are hydrophilic, but electrically conductive. 

Recently, we reported on the intercalation of Ti3C2, Ti3CN and TiNbC with polar organic molecules, which resulted in an increase of the c lattice parameter of MXenes. When dimethyl sulfoxide was intercalated into Ti3C2, followed by sonication in water, that latter delaminated forming a stable colloidal solution that was filtered to produce MXene “paper”. 

Potential applications of MXenes include batteries, Li-ion capacitors, supercapacitors, catalysis, water purification/desalination, gas storage and separation, sensors, thermoelectrics, and structural/multifunctional composites.


Prof. Yury Gogotsi, Department of Materials Science and Engineering, and A. J. Drexel Nanomaterials Institute, Drexel University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA
Dr. Baptiste Gault (Moderator), Materials Science Publisher


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