Hub PhD student Ken Aldren Usman has recently published his latest results on modifying MXene architectures to significantly enhance mechanical properties, while retaining their outstanding electrical conductivity.

Two-dimensional transition metal carbides and/or nitrides known as MXene have received significant attention due to their outstanding electrical conductivity. However, translating these materials into bulk architectures, both pure and composite, results in significant loss in mechanical properties from many factors, including poor inter-sheet connectivity, uncontrolled spacing and disordering of MXene flakes.

The team have shown that constructing ordered architectures from a typical MXene dispersion is possible through a two-step bridging method. This method permits surface modification of MXene sheets while still yielding stable colloidal dispersions so that the subsequent MXene films comprise aligned, evenly spaced, and interconnected sheets. MXene films produced by this method exhibit excellent electrical conductivity and mechanical strength, without compromising their electrochemical properties. This work provides an innovative approach towards future development of applications such as EMI shielding, flexible energy storage, and wearable electronics. The work has been published in a recent issue of Advanced Materials Interfaces and also featured as a Wiley Hot Topic.