I met Prof. Gogotsi last night in the poster session and managed to schedule a meet-up. I came up with the topic on how MXene, a group of 2D metal carbide structures, came to our world. It turned out that Prof. Gogotsi was also excited to share the story.
The precursor of MXene is a group of layered ceramic materials known as MAX phases. In collaboration with Prof. Barsoum and inspired by silicon-based lithium ion battery electrodes, Prof. Gogotsi' group attempted to use a titanium silicon carbide MAX phase for lithium ion battery electrodes. But unfortunately, all attempts were unsuccessful. They later tried to create spaces for lithium ions to intercalate into the MAX structure and the idea of etching the metal layers came about. After removal of the A phase, MXenes were produced. The 2D structure of the produced MXenes was later revealed by high-resolution transmission electron images and their structural stability was confirmed by theoretical calculations.
The above is only a tip of an iceberg. I plan to elaborate on this story further and will release a more complete version in the near future. Stayed tuned!
-Tianyu Liu UCSC