The material known as MXenes is the croissant in the tech industry. Just as a French croissant is made of several layers of dough interspersed with butter, the new material is made of layers of metal with different ions sandwiched between them. This construction makes them ideal for energy storage.
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Researchers at the University of Chicago I learned how to produce MXenes faster, easier, and with less environmental toxicity. The details in Science could herald a new era of electronics of all kinds.
MXenes materials will revolutionize the electronics industry
mxin is a relatively small group of only preliminary investigated nanomaterials with a two-dimensional crystal structure, which have intermediate properties between metals and ceramics. They were first described in 2011 by scientists from Drexel University, and caused quite a stir in the world of materials science. The extremely strong chemical bonds in MXenes allow them to retain special properties typical of metals, such as their high electrical conductivity.
MXenes are being recognized as the basis for new types of electronic devices, for example, for storing energy or jamming electromagnetic waves. Existing methods for producing MXenes are complex – requiring several steps of complex chemical reactions as well as heating at temperatures in excess of 1,600onC and a bath in hydrofluoric acid. The result is just a few grams of material used in laboratory experiments. Commercial use of MXenes was thus far out of the question, as much corrosive waste would be generated.
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Chemists at the University of Chicago have discovered new reactions that allow the production of MXenes from simple and cheap substrates, without the presence of hydrofluoric acid. All you have to do is mix some chemical compounds with any metal and then heat everything up to 930onThis may sound like a lot, but with the methods used so far, the temperature value seems reasonable.
The easier and less toxic method opens up new possibilities for researchers to create and study new types of MXenes for different applications, such as different metal alloys or different ionic flavors. The researchers tested the method with titanium and zirconium, but believe the technique could be applied to many other compositions as well.
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