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Issue 13, 2018
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Insights into exfoliation possibility of MAX phases to MXenes

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Chemical exfoliation of MAX phases into two-dimensional (2D) MXenes can be considered as a major breakthrough in the synthesis of novel 2D systems. To gain insight into the exfoliation possibility of MAX phases and to identify which MAX phases are promising candidates for successful exfoliation into 2D MXenes, we perform extensive electronic structure and phonon calculations, and determine the force constants, bond strengths, and static exfoliation energies of MAX phases to MXenes for 82 different experimentally synthesized crystalline MAX phases. Our results show a clear correlation between the force constants and the bond strengths. As the total force constant of an “A” atom contributed from the neighboring atoms is smaller, the exfoliation energy becomes smaller, thus making exfoliation easier. We propose 37 MAX phases for successful exfoliation into 2D Ti2C, Ti3C2, Ti4C3, Ti5C4, Ti2N, Zr2C, Hf2C, V2C, V3C2, V4C3, Nb2C, Nb5C4, Ta2C, Ta5C4, Cr2C, Cr2N, and Mo2C MXenes. In addition, we explore the effect of charge injection on MAX phases. We find that the injected charges, both electrons and holes, are mainly received by the transition metals. This is due to the electronic property of MAX phases that the states near the Fermi energy are mainly dominated by d orbitals of the transition metals. For negatively charged MAX phases, the electrons injected cause swelling of the structure and elongation of the bond distances along the c axis, which hence weakens the binding. For positively charged MAX phases, on the other hand, the bonds become shorter and stronger. Therefore, we predict that the electron injection by electrochemistry or gating techniques can significantly facilitate the exfoliation possibility of MAX phases to 2D MXenes.

Graphical abstract: Insights into exfoliation possibility of MAX phases to MXenes

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The article was received on 27 Dec 2017, accepted on 01 Mar 2018 and first published on 06 Mar 2018

Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C7CP08645H
Citation: Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys., 2018,20, 8579-8592
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    Insights into exfoliation possibility of MAX phases to MXenes

    M. Khazaei, A. Ranjbar, K. Esfarjani, D. Bogdanovski, R. Dronskowski and S. Yunoki, Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys., 2018, 20, 8579
    DOI: 10.1039/C7CP08645H

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