Article in ACS Nano honored for most valuable contribution to ceramics

WASHINGTON, June 25, 2013 — A scientific research paper published in ACS Nano has been selected as recipient of a prestigious award from the American Ceramic Society (ACerS). ACS Nano is one of more than 40 peer-reviewed journals published by the American Chemical Society, the world’s largest scientific society.

ACerS’ Ross Coffin Purdy Award will recognize the article, which was the first to describe a facile method to produce a large family of two-dimensional layered, early transition metal carbides and nitrides, labeled MXenes. The latter are so-called because they are produced by selective etching of the A-group element — aluminum in this case — from an even larger family of layered solids labeled the MAX phases. The MAX phases were in turn discovered by Michel Barsoum, Ph.D., and co-workers roughly 15 years ago at Drexel University.

Barsoum, A.W. Grosvenor and Distinguished Professor at Drexel University, and Distinguished University Professor and Trustee Chair Yury Gogotsi, Ph.D., also from Drexel Materials, were co-authors of the award-winning paper, along with students Michael Naguib, Olha Mashtalir and Joshua Carle, together with collaborators from Linkoping University in Sweden.

The annual Ross Coffin Purdy Award recognizes researchers “judged to have made the most valuable contribution to ceramic technical literature.” The ACerS board unanimously agreed to grant the honor to the Barsoum and Gogotsi team’s work. The award will be presented in October during the Materials Science and Technology Conference in Montréal, Canada.

MXenes have potential uses in a broad range of energy and electronics applications, including lithium-ion batteries and supercapacitors. The materials’ layered structure resembles that of graphene — hence the suffix ene — a two-dimensional sheet of carbon, but its chemistry is more complex and more versatile.

“The research reported in this paper is an exciting advance in this new family of materials for which the applications are just beginning to be envisioned,” said Dawn Bonnell, Ph.D., Trustee Chair Professor in the Materials Science Department of the University of Pennsylvania and director of the Nano/Bio Interface Center. Bonnell nominated Barsoum’s group for the honor.

In their ACS Nano paper “Two-Dimensional Transition Metal Carbides,” the authors acknowledge funding from the Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Office of Vehicle Technologies of the U.S. Department of Energy, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania’s Ben Franklin Technology Development Authority and the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation.

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