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25th Anniversary Article: MXenes: A New Family of Two-Dimensional Materials



Recently a new, large family of two-dimensional (2D) early transition metal carbides and carbonitrides, called MXenes, was discovered. MXenes are produced by selective etching of the A element from the MAX phases, which are metallically conductive, layered solids connected by strong metallic, ionic, and covalent bonds, such as Ti2AlC, Ti3AlC2, and Ta4AlC3. MXenes ­combine the metallic conductivity of transition metal carbides with the hydrophilic nature of their hydroxyl or oxygen terminated surfaces. In essence, they behave as “conductive clays”. This article reviews progress—both ­experimental and theoretical—on their synthesis, structure, properties, intercalation, delamination, and potential applications. MXenes are expected to be good candidates for a host of applications. They have already shown promising performance in electrochemical energy storage systems. A detailed outlook for future research on MXenes is also presented.