Mechanisms in the solution growth of free-standing two-dimensional inorganic nanomaterials
Free-standing two-dimensional (2D) nanomaterials have attracted extensive and growing research interest owing to their exotic physical and mechanical properties, which have enabled their applications in electronics, optoelectronics, electrochemical and biomedical devices. Current synthesis strategies rely largely on top-down approaches such as etching and exfoliation. Among bottom-up approaches in literature, there lacks a systematic understanding of the mechanisms of 2D crystal growth, unlike one-dimensional nanomaterials whose growth mechanisms have been well documented. To date, the growth design of free-standing 2D nanomaterials has remained a case-by-case practice. This review focuses on the bottom-up solution synthesis of free-standing 2D nanomaterials and summarizes the general mechanisms and empirical methodologies that can lead to 2D crystal growth. A brief outlook on the development of synthesis and application of solution-grown 2D nanomaterials is also presented.