Optical and Electronic Applications

2D MXenes provide new physics and phenomena which may not be available in conventional materials, however it is our job to discover them. Unlocking these properties allows for similar (or better) performance at much lower material thickness, permits the control of light, or it may reveal ultrasensitive devices. While we are just scratching the surface of potential applications for this diverse family, MXenes have been explored in a diverse set of electronic and optical applications, and some are listed below.

A recent review of optical and electronic applications of MXenes: Hantanasirisakul, K. and Gogotsi, Y., 2018. Electronic and optical properties of 2Dtransition metal carbides and nitrides (MXenes). Advanced Materials, 30 (52), 1804779.


Wireless communication and shielding: What if all electromagnetic frequencies were visible to the human eye? We could see a radio station broadcasting, potentially redirect a text message to another phone, or maybe block electronic pollution from crowding the air. Turns out these waves are ‘visible’ to some materials and can interact with them in different ways. Having the ability to block or transmit electromagnetic (EM) waves becomes critical when attempting to protect electronic equipment or communicate through an antenna, and both can be achieved with MXenes. Conventional materials used in these applications includes metals, such as copper, aluminum, or gold, and carbon materials, such as carbon nanotubes or carbon fiber composites. When comparing to conventional materials, MXenes perform similarly at much lower thicknesses, allowing for construction of thinner antennas or EMI shields. Control over the material density has allowed for tunable devices to be created with varying degrees of EM absorption or reflection.

More information and related references:

Shahzad, F., Alhabeb, M., Hatter, C.B., Anasori, B., Hong, S.M., Koo, C.M. and Gogotsi, Y., 2016. Electromagnetic interference shielding with 2D transitionmetal carbides (MXenes). Science, 353 (6304), 1137-1140.

Sarycheva, A., Polemi, A., Liu, Y., Dandekar, K., Anasori, B. and Gogotsi, Y., 2018. 2D titanium carbide (MXene) for wireless communication. Science Advances, 4 (9), eaau0920.

Han, M., Yin, X., Hantanasirisakul, K., Li, X., Iqbal, A., Hatter, C.B., Anasori, B., Koo, C.M., Torita, T., Soda, Y. and Zhang, L., 2019. AnisotropicMXene Aerogels with a Mechanically Tunable Ratio of Electromagnetic WaveReflection to Absorption. Advanced Optical Materials, 7 (10), 1900267. 

Light Control: Ever consider what a two way mirror or an anti-reflective coating is made from? How can we control light to perform in the way we wish? Beyond simple transmission of light, MXenes have been shown to exhibit saturable absorption properties in the near infrared (near-IR), meaning the absorption of light decreases (transmission of light increases) with increasing light intensity. This property was used to create a photonic diode with fullerenes (C60), which performed by transmitting light differently when viewed in the forward and reverse directions. Saturable absorption properties can be applied in applications such as lasers and tuned when we take advantage of disks/pillar-like nanostructures at near-IR or terahertz frequencies.

More information and related references:

Dong, Y., Chertopalov, S., Maleski, K., Anasori, B., Hu, L., Bhattacharya, S., Rao, A.M., Gogotsi, Y., Mochalin, V.N. and Podila, R., 2018. Saturable absorption in 2D Ti3C2 MXene thin films for passive photonic diodes. Advanced Materials, 30 (10), 1705714.

Chaudhuri, K., Alhabeb, M., Wang, Z., Shalaev, V.M., Gogotsi, Y. and Boltasseva, A., 2018. Highly broadband absorber using plasmonic titanium carbide (MXene). ACS Photonics, 5 (3), 1115-1122.

Choi, G., Shahzad, F., Bahk, Y.M., Jhon, Y.M., Park, H., Alhabeb, M., Anasori, B., Kim, D.S., Koo, C.M., Gogotsi, Y. and Seo, M., 2018. Enhanced TerahertzShielding of MXenes with Nano‐Metamaterials. Advanced Optical Materials, 6 (5), 1701076.

Transparent Conductors: What if every window harvested solar energy, was able to control the room temperature by adjusting the window color, and did it all without sacrificing visibility? In the visible and near-IR regimes, MXenes transmit EM waves and the quantity of transmission is directly dependent on the MXene composition and thickness of material present. This permits MXenes to be used as transparent conductors in energy storage and display applications. Furthermore, the color and transparency of the device reversibly changes with applied potential allowing for electrochromic devices (and maybe windows!) to be fabricated with different colors.  

More information and related references:

Dillon, A.D., Ghidiu, M.J., Krick, A.L., Griggs, J., May, S.J., Gogotsi, Y., Barsoum, M.W. and Fafarman, A.T., 2016. Highly conductive optical qualitysolution‐processed films of 2D titanium carbide. Advanced Functional Materials, 26 (23), 4162-4168.

Salles, P., Pinto, D., Hantanasirisakul, K., Maleski, K., Shuck, C.E. and Gogotsi, Y., 2019. Electrochromic Effect in Titanium Carbide MXene Thin Films Produced byDip‐Coating. Advanced Functional Materials, 29 (17), 1809223.

Sensors: Imagine your cell phone has an app that operates like your dog’s nose: able to distinguish thousands of smells and simultaneously identify them to you? MXene gas sensors exhibited a very low limit of detection of 50–100 parts per billion (ppb) for volatile organic compounds gases (such as ethanol). The extremely low noise led to a signal-to-noise ratio 2 orders of magnitude higher than that of other 2D materials, surpassing the best sensors known. Furthermore, because MXenes have been considered plasmonic materials, surface enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS) applications have been explored, where signal enhancement of dyes or molecules occurs. The combination of chemical sensitivity and interaction with light allows for chemical and light-induced sensors to be fabricated.

More information and related references:

Sarycheva, A., Makaryan, T., Maleski, K., Satheeshkumar, E., Melikyan, A., Minassian, H., Yoshimura, M. and Gogotsi, Y., 2017. Two-dimensional titanium carbide(MXene) as surface-enhanced Raman scattering substrate. The Journal of Physical Chemistry C, 121 (36), 19983-19988.

Kim, S.J., Koh, H.J., Ren, C.E., Kwon, O., Maleski, K., Cho, S.Y., Anasori, B., Kim, C.K., Choi, Y.K., Kim, J. and Gogotsi, Y., 2018. Metallic Ti3C2Tx MXene gas sensors with ultrahigh signal-to-noise ratio. ACS Nano, 12 (2), 986-993.