Two-Dimensional Transition Metal Carbides (MXenes) for Electronic and Energy Harvesting Applications

  • Hyunho Kim

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


Nanomaterials have been served as essential building blocks in the era of nanotechnology. Nanomaterials often exhibit different properties compared to their bulk phase, due to heavily enlarged portion of surface characteristics to the bulk. Beyond the simple size- effect, nanomaterials can be classified into 0D, 1D, and 2D materials depends on the number of restricted dimensionalities. They exhibit different unique properties and transport mechanism due to the quantum confinement effect. MXenes are one of the latest additions of 2D material family that can be obtained by selective chemical etching and exfoliation of layered ternary precursors (Mn+1AXn phases). Due to the unique etch process, surface functional groups (such as oxygen, hydroxyl, fluorine, etc) are formed at the surface of MXenes. This benefits MXenes for stable aqueous dispersions due to their hydrophilic surface. The coexistence of hydrophilicity and high electrical conductivity promised MXenes in superior performance in electrochemical energy storage and electromagnetic interference shielding applications. These characteristics are equally important for electronic applications. From the synthesis of MXene suspension to thin film deposition by spray-coating and photolithography patterning of MXene films are discussed for electronic device applications of MXenes. Vacuum-assisted filtration method was used for Mo-based MXene freestanding papers for investigation of thermoelectric energy harvesting performances. Both n-type ZnO and p-type SnO thin film transistors with MXene electrical contacts (gate, source, and drain electrodes) have been demonstrated by lift-off patterning method. Their complementary metal-oxide-semiconductor (CMOS) inverter exhibits a high gain value of 80 V/V at a supply voltage of 5 V. The lift-off patterning is simple but effective method for top-contact electrode patterning. However, it has a disadvantage of remaining sidewall-like MXene residue, resulting in leakage issues in the bottom-contact transistor structure. Hence, dry-etch patterning method is developed which allows direct patterning of MXene nanosheet thin films through conventional photolithography process. The conductive MXene electrode array was integrated into a quantum dot electric double layer transistors by all solution processes, which possess impressive performance including electron mobility of 3.3 cm2/V·s, current modulation of 104, threshold voltage as low as 0.36 V at low driving gate voltage range of only 1.25 V.
Date of AwardOct 13 2020
Original languageEnglish (US)
Awarding Institution
  • Physical Sciences and Engineering
SupervisorHusam Alshareef (Supervisor)


  • MXenes
  • 2D materials
  • Thermoelectric
  • Solution process
  • Electronic devices
  • Energy harvesting

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