Applications of 2D MXenes in energy conversion and storage systems
Transition metal carbides and nitrides (MXenes), a family of two-dimensional (2D) inorganic compounds, are materials composed of a few atomic layers of transition metal carbides, nitrides, or carbonitrides. Ti3C2, the first 2D layered MXene, was isolated in 2011. This material, which is a layered bulk material analogous to graphite, was derived from its 3D phase, Ti3AlC2 MAX. Since then, material scientists have either determined or predicted the stable phases of >200 different MXenes based on combinations of various transition metals such as Ti, Mo, V, Cr, and their alloys with C and N. Extensive experimental and theoretical studies have shown their exciting potential for energy conversion and electrochemical storage. To this end, we comprehensively summarize the current advances in MXene research. We begin by reviewing the structure types and morphologies and their fabrication routes. The review then discusses the mechanical, electrical, optical, and electrochemical properties of MXenes. The focus then turns to their exciting potential in energy storage and conversion. Energy storage applications include electrodes in rechargeable lithium- and sodium-ion batteries, lithium–sulfur batteries, and supercapacitors. In terms of energy conversion, photocatalytic fuel production, such as hydrogen evolution from water splitting, and carbon dioxide reduction are presented. The potential of MXenes for the photocatalytic degradation of organic pollutants in water, such as dye waste, is also addressed, along with their promise as catalysts for ammonium synthesis from nitrogen. Finally, their application potential is summarized.