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  1. Abstract

    MXenes are a new family of two-dimensional carbides and/or nitrides. Their 2D surfaces are typically terminated by O, OH and/or F atoms. Here we show that Ti3C2Tx—the most studied compound of the MXene family—is a good acid catalyst, thanks to the surface acid functionalities. We demonstrate this by applying Ti3C2Txin the epoxide ring-opening reaction of styrene oxide (SO) and its isomerization in the liquid phase. Modifying the MXene surface changes the catalytic activity and selectivity. By oxidizing the surface, we succeeded in controlling the type and number of acid sites and thereby improving the yield of the mono-alkylated product to >80%. Characterisation studies show that a thin oxide layer, which forms directly on the Ti3C2Txsurface, is essential for catalysing the SO ring-opening. We hypothesize that two kinds of acid sites are responsible for this catalysis: In the MXene, strong acid sites (both Lewis and Brønsted) catalyse both the ring-opening and the isomerization reactions, while in the Mxene–TiO2composite weaker acid sites catalyse only the ring-opening reaction, increasing the selectivity to the mono-alkylated product.

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  2. Abstract

    Here it is shown that Ti3C2TxMXene flakes can be co‐assembled with recombinant silk fibroin in aqueous suspensions with silk fibroin nanolayers uniformly covering individual flakes. These bioencapsulated flakes evolve with time due to the gradual growth of silk bundles having β‐sheet secondary organization with unique nanofibrillar morphologies extending across flake edges and forming long fringes around individual MXene flakes. This spontaneous reorganization of recombinant silk suggests surface template‐initiated formation of intramolecular hydrogen bonding of silk backbones assisted by intermolecular electrostatic and hydrogen bonding with the MXene flake. The formation of dense and hydrophobic β‐sheets results in development of a protective shell that hinders the surface oxidation of Ti3C2Txin colloidal solution in water and significantly extends the storage life of the individual MXene flakes. Moreover, assembly into organized laminated composites with individual bioencapsulated flakes tightly interconnected via biopolymer bundles and hairs produces robust freestanding electrically conductive membranes with enhanced transport properties.

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  3. Abstract

    MXenes have shown promise in myriad applications, such as energy storage, catalysis, EMI shielding, among many others. However, MXene oxidation in aqueous colloidal suspensions when stored in water at ambient conditions remains a challenge. It is now shown that by simply capping the edges of individual MXene flakes, Ti3C2Tzand V2CTz, by polyanions such as polyphosphates, polysilicates or polyborates, it is possible to quite significantly reduce their propensity for oxidation even when held in aerated water for weeks. This breakthrough resulted from the realization that the edges of MXene sheets are positively charged. It is thus an example of selectively functionalizing the edges differently from the MXene sheet surfaces.

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    Quaternary MAX phases, (Ta 1−x Ti x ) 3 AlC 2 ( x = 0.4, 0.62, 0.75, 0.91 or 0.95), have been synthesised via pressureless sintering of TaC, TiC, Ti and Al powders. Via chemical etching of the Al layers, (Ta 0.38 Ti 0.62 ) 3 C 2 T z – a new MXene, has also been synthesised. All materials contain an M-layer solid solution of Ta and Ti, with a variable Ta concentration, paving the way for the synthesis of a range of alloyed (Ta,Ti) 3 C 2 T z MXenes with tuneable compositions for a wide range of potential applications. 
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