Not always bad—MXenes' spontaneous oxidation harnessed to create 2-D nanocomposites | 6/20/2018 | Staff
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Researchers at Missouri S&T have discovered a new way to harness the potential of a type of spontaneously oxidized MXene thin films, to create nanocomposites that could sense both light and the environment. Previously, such spontaneous oxidation was considered detrimental because it degrades the MXene structure. The research is published in the June 2018 issue of ACS Nano, one of Google Scholar's top-rated, peer-reviewed scientific journals.

"Now we've demonstrated that partial spontaneous oxidation of MXenes into titanium oxide that is integrated with the MXene flakes, can be harnessed to inexpensively manufacture useful MXene-titania nanocomposites," says Dr. Vadym Mochalin, associate professor of chemistry at Missouri University of Science and Technology and principal investigator of the research.

Increase - MXenes - Research - Years - Discoveries

"With the exponential increase in MXenes' research over the past several years, conceptual discoveries are becoming less frequent," says Mochalin. "In parallel, researchers delve deeper into MXenes' fundamental properties, in particular, the complicated chemistry of these materials."

MXenes are two-dimensional inorganic compounds that consist of a few atoms-thick layers of metal carbides and nitrides that possess high electrical conductivity along with hydrophilicity, non-linear optical and tunable electronic properties. As metallic conductors, they should not produce a photocurrent within the material when exposed to light, as do typical semiconductors such as silicon.

June - Paper - Photoresponse - Spontaneously - Partially

However, in their June paper, "Environment-Sensitive Photoresponse of Spontaneously Partially Oxidized Ti3C2 MXene Thin Films" co-authored by Mochalin and Dr. Sergii Chertopalov, a post-doctoral researcher in Mochalin's group, the authors measured a photocurrent through the samples when the partially oxidized thin Ti3C2 MXene films were irradiated with ultraviolet (UV) light.

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