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Research aims to optimize MXene in complex 3D device architectures

Drop by drop: MXene in complex 3D device architectures

Credit: Carnegie Mellon University

Despite being only a few atoms thick, MXene packs a punch. This class of single-layer, two-dimensional (2D) nanomaterials exhibit desirable properties such as excellent thermal and electrical conductivity, heat resistance, and high surface area. These features promise to revolutionize high-performance electronic devices and energy storage systems.

To optimize the properties of MXene, researchers need to be able to arrange 2D flakes of it in three-dimensional (3D) configurations. Such MXene 3D architectures can increase the energy storage density of lithium-ion batteries and supercapacitors and provide performance improvements to existing devices.

Unfortunately, there is a lack of reliable manufacturing methods to build MXene in 3D configurations today: Rahul Panat, an associate professor of mechanical engineering and associate director of the Manufacturing Futures Institute at Carnegie Mellon University, is trying to change this.

The manufacturing process includes Aerosol Jet 3D printing, a nanoscale additive manufacturing technology. Using the principles of droplet dynamics, MXene will be dispersed in liquid and deposited layer by layer in stacks of 3D structures to form electrochemical and physical sensors.

Drop by drop: MXene in complex 3D device architectures

Credit: Carnegie Mellon University

“These three-dimensional architectures are useful because they have the potential to ‘gather’ enough nanoscale materials for practical use in electronic devices,” explains Panat.

“If I make an electrode from the three-dimensional architectures, I can dramatically improve the performance because the chemical and/or biochemical reactions would have a greater surface area and 3D volume to use.”

The research team will test and assess the performance of these devices based on their sensitivity, reproducibility and repeatability of measurements.

Drop by drop: MXene in complex 3D device architectures

Credit: Carnegie Mellon University

Another aspect of the project looks ahead to the next generation of American workforce. To prepare a cohort of skilled workers in advanced micro- and nanoelectronics technologies, Panat’s team recruits U.S. military cadets pursuing undergraduate degrees from Carnegie Mellon University, Duquesne University and the University of Pittsburgh. Additional interns include a Ph.D. student and postdoctoral researcher of the research laboratory of Panat.

The trainees learn 3D printing and other advanced manufacturing methods, plus material characterization techniques such as electron microscopy, X-ray diffraction and statistical data analysis.

Once trained in the range of 3D printing techniques, U.S. Air Force, Army and Navy cadets will be able to repair mechanical components and electronic circuitry right in the field. This reduces reliance on outsourcing and supply chains that are prone to severe disruption from global events.

While the research is fundamental in nature, Panat expects it to impact the industry within five to seven years. As the technology continues to develop, new high-performance electronic devices will emerge.


Next-generation battery 3D printing


Provided by Carnegie Mellon University


Quote: Research aims to optimize MXene in complex 3D device architectures (2022, July 13) Retrieved July 14, 2022 from https://phys.org/news/2022-07-aims-optimize-mxene-complex-3d.html

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