Max/MXene Synthesis

30 stoichiometric MXenes have already been synthesized, with countless additional solid-solution MXenes. Each MXene has unique optical, electronic, physical, and chemical properties, leading to them being used in nearly every field, from biomedicine to electrochemical energy storage. Our work focuses on the synthesis of different MAX phases and MXenes, including new compositions and structures, spanning all M, A, and X chemistries, and using all known MXene synthesis approaches.

  1. Creating new MAX precursors: The use of many MXene chemistries is limited by the cost of MAX phase precursors, which are usually produced from pure elements, involving expensive transition metals. Different kinds of precursors lead to differences not only in the properties of MAX phase but also in the final MXene properties (conductivity, ability to intercalate ions and molecules, stability). Our current research focuses on the synthesis of different kinds of MAX phases such as Ti3AlC2, Nb2AlC, Nb2AlC0.5C0.5, Mo2TiAlC2, Mo2Ti2AlC3, V2AlC, Mo2GaC and studying the correlation between MAX phase structure and MXenes properties obtained from new precursors. Our group has successfully produced V2AlC with cost-saving aluminothermic combustion synthesis from an inexpensive oxide precursor with low energy input in the reactor for self-propagating high-temperature synthesis (SHS).
  2. Large-scale synthesis: MAX phase and MXene production can produce large amounts of toxic and dangerous waste, which can limit production opportunities. Our group is currently working on high-energy delamination of MXene to increase throughput and yield while dramatically cutting down on waste. This is paired with efforts to more efficiently produce different types of MAX phase and MXenes.
  3. Discovery and Creation of MXenes and synthesis tactics: Our group continues to work on the discovery and creation of new MXenes, as well as the creation of new synthesis techniques that can reveal the distinctive electronic and magnetic properties of MXenes.
  4. Structural control of MXene formation: Our group has made breakthroughs in creating MXenes through tailored synthesis protocols and subsequent treatments that can provide systematic control over their chemistry and structure. A major example of this is the control of both layer thickness and X site composition in a carbonitride MXene.

SEM image of Ti3C2

Image by Babak Anasori  

Synthesis Method

Image by Stepan Vorotilo

Leading group members: Iryna Roslyka, Alex Inman, Teng Zhang, Marley Downes