skip to main content

Title: Ten Years of Progress in the Synthesis and Development of MXenes

Since their discovery in 2011, the number of 2D transition metal carbides and nitrides (MXenes) has steadily increased. Currently more than 40 MXene compositions exist. The ultimate number is far greater and in time they may develop into the largest family of 2D materials known. MXenes’ unique properties, such as their metal‐like electrical conductivity reaching ≈20 000 S cm−1, render them quite useful in a large number of applications, including energy storage, optoelectronic, biomedical, communications, and environmental. The number of MXene papers and patents published has been growing quickly. The first MXene generation is synthesized using selective etching of metal layers from the MAX phases, layered transition metal carbides and carbonitrides using hydrofluoric acid. Since then, multiple synthesis approaches have been developed, including selective etching in a mixture of fluoride salts and various acids, non‐aqueous etchants, halogens, and molten salts, allowing for the synthesis of new MXenes with better control over their surface chemistries. Herein, a brief historical overview of the first 10 years of MXene research and a perspective on their synthesis and future development are provided. The fact that their production is readily scalable in aqueous environments, with high yields bodes well for their commercialization.

more » « less
Author(s) / Creator(s):
 ;  ;  
Publisher / Repository:
Wiley Blackwell (John Wiley & Sons)
Date Published:
Journal Name:
Advanced Materials
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this
  1. Abstract

    MXenes are a rapidly growing family of 2D transition metal carbides and nitrides that are promising for various applications, including energy storage and conversion, electronics, and healthcare. Hydrofluoric‐acid‐based etchants are typically used for large‐scale and high‐throughput synthesis of MXenes, which also leads to a mixture of surface terminations that impede MXene properties. Herein, a computational thermodynamic model with experimental validation is presented to explore the feasibility of fluorine‐free synthesis of MXenes with uniform surface terminations by dry selective extraction (DSE) from precursor MAX phases using iodine vapors. A range of MXenes and respective precursor compositions are systematically screened using first‐principles calculations to find candidates with high phase stability and low etching energy. A thermodynamic model based on the “CALculation of PHAse Diagrams” (CALPHAD) approach is further demonstrated, using Ti3C2I2as an example, to assess the Gibbs free energy of the DSE reaction and the state of the byproducts as a function of temperature and pressure. Based on the assessment, the optimal synthesis temperature and vapor pressure are predicted and further verified by experiments. This work opens an avenue for scalable, fluorine‐free dry synthesis of MXenes with compositions and surface chemistries that are not accessible using wet chemical etching.

    more » « less
    more » « less
  3. Abstract

    Electrochemical capacitors (ECs) that store charge based on the pseudocapacitive mechanism combine high energy densities with high power densities and rate capabilities. 2D transition metal carbides (MXenes) have been recently introduced as high‐rate pseudocapacitive materials with ultrahigh areal and volumetric capacitances. So far, 20 different MXene compositions have been synthesized and many more are theoretically predicted. However, since most MXenes are chemically unstable in their 2D forms, to date only one MXene composition, Ti3C2Tx, has shown stable pseudocapacitive charge storage. Here, a cation‐driven assembly process is demonstrated to fabricate highly stable and flexible multilayered films of V2CTxand Ti2CTxMXenes from their chemically unstable delaminated single‐layer flakes. The electrochemical performance of electrodes fabricated using assembled V2CTxflakes surpasses Ti3C2Txin various aqueous electrolytes. These electrodes show specific capacitances as high as 1315 F cm−3and retain ≈77% of their initial capacitance after one million charge/discharge cycles, an unprecedented performance for pseudocapacitive materials. This work opens a new venue for future development of high‐performance supercapacitor electrodes using a variety of 2D materials as building blocks.

    more » « less
  4. Since the demonstration of the unique properties of single-layer graphene and transition metal dichalcogenides (TMDs), research on two-dimensional (2D) materials has become one of the hottest topics, with the family of 2D materials quickly expanding. This expansion is mainly attributable to the development of new synthesis methods to create new materials. This review will summarize and critically analyze topochemical synthesis methods for synthesizing novel 2D materials. For example, the emerging family of 2D transition metal carbides, nitrides and carbonitrides (MXenes) are synthesized primarily by selective etching of “A” (metal) elements from MAX phases. Another 2D material, hydrogenated germanene is produced by selective etching of calcium digermanide (CaGe 2 ). The topochemical transformation of one dichalcogenide into another and 2D oxides into 2D carbides or nitrides have attracted great attention because materials with many useful and diverse properties can be obtained by these methods. Topochemical synthesis methods provide alternative ways of synthesizing 2D materials not requiring van der Waals bonded solid precursors or vapor phase deposition, but they have not been comprehensively reviewed. In this review, we describe common principles of topochemical synthesis of 2D materials, explain synthesis mechanisms and offer an outlook for future research. 
    more » « less
  5. Abstract

    2D early transition metal carbide and nitride MXenes have intriguing properties for electrochemical energy storage and electrocatalysis. These properties can be manipulated by modifying the basal plane chemistry. Here, mixed transition metal nitride MXenes, M‐Ti4N3Tx(M = V, Cr, Mo, or Mn; Tx= O and/or OH), are developed by modifying pristine exfoliated Ti4N3TxMXene with V, Cr, Mo, and Mn salts using a simple solution‐based method. The resulting mixed transition metal nitride MXenes contain 6–51% metal loading (cf. Ti) that exhibit rich electrochemistry including highly tunable hydrogen evolution reaction (HER) electrocatalytic activity in a 0.5mH2SO4electrolyte as follows: V‐Ti4N3Tx> Cr‐Ti4N3Tx> Mo‐Ti4N3Tx> Mn‐Ti4N3Tx> pristine Ti4N3Txwith overpotentials as low as 330 mV at −10 mA cm−2with a charge‐transfer resistance of 70 Ω. Scanning electrochemical microscopy (SECM) reveals the electrochemical activity of individual MXene flakes. The SECM data corroborate the bulk HER activity trend for M‐Ti4N3Txas well as provide the first experimental evidence that HER results from catalysis on the MXene basal plane. These electrocatalytic results demonstrate a new pathway to tune the electrochemical properties of MXenes for water splitting and related electrochemical applications.

    more » « less