Modified MAX Phase Synthesis for Environmentally Stable and Highly Conductive Ti3C2 MXene

14 August 2020, Version 1
This content is a preprint and has not undergone peer review at the time of posting.


One of the primary factors limiting further research and the commercial use of the two-dimensional (2D) MXene titanium carbide (Ti3C2), as well as MXenes in general, is the rate at which freshly made samples oxidize and degrade when stored as aqueous suspensions. Here, we show that including excess aluminum during synthesis of the Ti3AlC2 MAX phase precursor leads to the creation of Ti3AlC2 grains with improved stoichiometry and crystallinity. Ti3C2 nanosheets produced from the improved Ti3AlC2 are of higher quality, as evidenced by their increased resistance to oxidation and an increase in their electrical conductivity to 20,000 S/cm. Our results indicate that defects created during the synthesis of Ti3C2 (and by inference, other MXenes) lead to the previously observed instability. We show that by eliminating those defects results in Ti3C2 that is highly stable in aqueous solutions and in air. Aqueous suspensions of single- to few-layer Ti3C2 flakes produced from the modified Ti3AlC2 have a shelf life of over ten months, compared to one to two weeks for Ti3C2 produced from conventional Ti3AlC2, even when stored in ambient conditions. Freestanding films made from Ti3C2 suspensions stored for ten months show minimal decreases in electrical conductivity and negligible oxidation. Oxidation of the improved Ti3C2 in air initiates at temperatures that are 100-150°C higher than conventional Ti3C2. The observed improvements in both the shelf life and properties of Ti3C2 will facilitate the widespread use of this material.


Oxidation Resistance

Supplementary materials

Modified MAX Phase Synthesis for Environmentally Stable and Highly Conductive Ti3C2 MXene Supporting info


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