Postdoctoral Researcher, Drexel University
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“MAX Phases as Precursors to New MXenes”
MXenes are potentially the largest class of 2D materials discovered so far.
With a general formula of Mn+1XnTx, M is an early transition metal (Ti, V, Nb, Ta, etc.), X is C and/or N, Tx represents the surface groups (-O, -OH, -F, -Cl), and n = 1–4, over 30 stoichiometric phases have already been discovered, with many more predicted computationally. This class of materials has been widely studied owing to their exceptional properties, including hydrophilicity, scalability, mechanical strength, thermal stability, redox capability, and ease of processing. Since their discovery, MXenes have been used in a variety of applications, including electrochemical energy storage, electromagnetic interference shielding, biomedical, environmental remediation, catalysis, etc., with more novel applications being studied daily.
Because MXenes inherit their structure from Mn+1AXn (MAX) phase precursors, understanding MAX phase synthesis leads to control over flake size, defect density, and chemical composition of the resultant MXene. One understudied, yet important class of MXenes are solid-solution MXenes, where multiple elements are randomly distributed within the M layers. Solid-solution MXenes exhibit tunable properties that are directly related to their chemistry. By understanding this relationship, it then becomes possible to rationally design new MXenes with specific optical, electronic, and chemical properties.
Likewise, solid-solutions can stabilize structures that wouldn’t form with only one M element, leading to thicker MXenes (M5X4Tx) with enhanced thermal stability and optical properties unlike any other MXene.
Christopher E. Shuck, Ph.D., Postdoctoral Researcher, Drexel University
Christopher E. Shuck is a postdoctoral fellow at the A.J. Drexel Nanomaterials Institute, Drexel University. He received his Ph.D. in 2018 from the University of Notre Dame in chemical and biomolecular engineering, and B.S.E. in 2013 from Princeton University in chemical and biological engineering. He is a recipient of a Fulbright Grant. His research interests include chemical kinetics, materials synthesis, and 2D materials; he is broadly focused on the relationship between how materials are synthesized and their resulting properties.