_TECHNOLOGY Materials

_Material Witnesses

Researchers around the world are examining a material invented in Drexel’s labs for clues about its potential use in batteries, wearable technology, mobile devices and so much more.

_Yury Gogotsi

Gogotsi is trustee chair professor of materials science and engineering and director of the A.J. Drexel Nanotechnology Institute.

_Michel Barsoum

Barsoum is a distinguished professor in the College of Engineering’s Department of Materials Science and Engineering.

_Babak Anasori

Anasori is a research associate in the A.J. Drexel Nanomaterials Institute.

In the almost seven years since researchers in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering in the College of Engineering discovered MXene, a new two-dimensional material composed of titanium (or other metal) and carbon or nitrogen atoms, scientists around the world have taken up the task of seeing just how special it might be.

MXene was born from research inspired by the discovery of the amazing properties of two-dimensional graphite — called graphene. It builds on the idea that atom-thick materials could be the key to building smaller, faster electronics; improving energy-storage devices; adding impressive durability to products; and even repairing damaged neurons.

Researchers have already produced more than two dozen distinct MXenes with their own unique properties and identified more than 100 others that can be produced as stable materials.

Flurry_of_experiments

Researchers in about 300 organizations in close to 40 countries have published research investigating ways to use the promising new material in a variety of applications. Drexel holds three issued patents related to MXene that cover broad composition of matter claims, with 10 more patents pending.

Distinguished University and Charles T. and Ruth M. Bach Professor Yury Gogotsi, the principal investigator on the project that led to the material’s discovery, says there is tremendous potential for MXene’s use in energy-storage devices because it can hold and discharge electricity at exceptional rates without deteriorating. Its conductive properties can also be controlled and have even proven to be highly tunable.

Perhaps as important as any of the material’s potential uses is the ability to produce it in large quantities. Gogotsi’s lab can make as much as 100 grams of MXene at a time.

“The fact that it can be produced in 100-gram quantities in the lab is a breakthrough that clearly shows that its practical applications are real,” Gogotsi says.

Since 2011, Gogotsi’s MXene research has received more than $2 million in funding from groups that include the U.S. Department of Energy, the Army Research Office, King Abdullah University of Science and Technology in Saudi Arabia, the Qatar Foundation and members of industry.