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Size-Dependent Physical and Electrochemical Properties of Two-Dimensional MXene Flakes

Maleski, Kathleen, Ren, Chang E., Zhao, Meng-Qiang, Anasori, Babak, Gogotsi, Yury
ACS applied materials & interfaces 2018 v.10 no.29 pp. 24491-24498
capacitance, carbides, density gradient centrifugation, electrical equipment, electrochemistry, electrodes, materials science, sonication, spectral analysis, titanium
Two-dimensional (2D) particles, including transition metal carbides (MXenes), often exhibit large lateral-size polydispersity in delaminated colloidal solutions. This heterogeneity results in challenges when conducting fundamental studies, such as investigating correlations between properties and the 2D flake size. To resolve this challenge, we have developed solution-processable techniques to control and sort 2D titanium carbide (Ti₃C₂Tₓ) MXene flakes after synthesis based on sonication and density gradient centrifugation, respectively. By tuning the sonication conditions, Ti₃C₂Tₓ flakes with varied lateral sizes, ranging from 0.1 to ∼5 μm, can be obtained. Furthermore, density gradient centrifugation was used to sort Ti₃C₂Tₓ flakes with different lateral sizes into more monodisperse fractions. These processing techniques allow for the characterization of size-dependent optical and electronic properties by measuring the absorption spectra and film conductivity, respectively. Additionally, by testing the material as electrochemical capacitor electrodes, we show the Ti₃C₂Tₓ flake-size dependence of electrochemical performance. Ti₃C₂Tₓ films made of flakes with lateral sizes of ∼1 μm showed the best capacitance of 290 F/g at 2 mV/s and rate performance with 200 F/g at 1000 mV/s. The work provides a general methodology which can be followed to control the size of MXenes and other 2D materials for a variety of applications and fundamental size-dependent studies.