MXene as a novel intercalation-type pseudocapacitive cathode and anode for capacitive deionization
In this proof-of-concept study, we introduce and demonstrate MXene as a novel type of intercalation electrode for desalination via capacitive deionization (CDI). Traditional CDI cells employ nanoporous carbon electrodes with significant pore volume to achieve a large desalination capacity via ion electrosorption. By contrast, MXene stores charge by ion intercalation between the sheets of its two-dimensional nanolamellar structure. By this virtue, it behaves as an ideal pseudocapacitor, that is, showing capacitive electric response while intercalating both anions and cations. We synthesized Ti3C2-MXene by the conventional process of etching ternary titanium aluminum carbide i.e., the MAX phase (Ti3AlC2) with hydrofluoric acid. The MXene material was cast directly onto the porous separator of the CDI cell without added binder, and exhibited very stable performance over 30 CDI cycles with an average salt adsorption capacity of 13 ± 2 mg g−1.