Researchers Demonstrate Novel Approach to Fabricating MXene Films that Block Electromagnetic Interference

Researchers from multiple institutions have worked together to create a new way to scale MXene films that is both efficient and scalable. In a joint project led by engineers from the NYU Tandon School of Engineering, the team may have found a novel solution for fabricating MXene films – which provide excellent protection against electromagnetic interference.

Although there are methods for preventing electromagnetic interference, traditional techniques have relied on bulky technology. MXene freestanding films have long had the potential to achieve this; these 2D transition metal nitrides, carbides, and carbonitrides have repeatedly displayed impressive shielding properties for electromagnetic interference, as well as high conductivity. The problem is with creating a process to fabricate them that is efficient and scalable enough to allow for commercialization.

The research team may have found the answer: drop-casting onto pre-patterned hydrophobic substrates. Their method showed a marked improvement over current methods to block electromagnetic interference — a 38% enhancement of shielding efficiency, to be precise.

Engineers took the aqueous dispersions of MXene nanosheets, using the formula Ti3C2T, and cast them onto hydrophobic polystrene substrates. These were then dried, producing free-standing films that peeled off easily.

“The conventional wisdom for making MXene films is that you should match a hydrophilic material with a hydrophilic substrate to get a smooth coating. We found that if you instead try to use a hydrophobic surface it results in simple, scalable production of freestanding films because the MXenes prefer to stick together than interact with the surface. Because there are many commercially available microstructured plastics, there are a lot of options to make a 3D-patterned MXene film, and we find that choosing the right pattern can dramatically improve EMI shielding effectiveness. This opens up a lot of opportunities to study different micro-structured MXene composites for wide-ranging applications.”

Jason Lipton, lead author and Ph.D. candidate at NYU Tandon School of Engineering

Because of the ease of production and the methods used in production, researchers believe that this new method could be used in a wide variety of applications. The MXene film produced this way has the potential to be used for energy storage and optoelectronics applications, in addition to particularly effective shielding of electromagnetic interference.

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