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Ten years after producing the first sample of the now widely studied family of nanomaterials, called MXenes, Drexel University researchers have discovered a different way to make the atom-thin material that presents a number of new opportunities for using it. The new discovery removes water from the MXene-making process, which means the materials can be used in applications in which water is a contaminant or hampers performance, such as battery electrodes and next-generation solar cells.

The discovery, which was reported recently in the journal Chem, offers a new recipe for the chemical etching solution that carves away layers from a ceramic precursor material, called MAX phase, to create the two-dimensional layered material, MXene.

"Water has been used in the MXene-making processes to dilute the etching acid and as a solvent to neutralize the reaction, but it is not always desirable to have traces of it in the finished product," said Michel Barsoum, PhD, Distinguished professor in Drexel's College of Engineering. "We have been working for some time to explore other etchants for the MAX P-phase and now we have found just the right combination of chemicals to do it."

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Category: Science