In situ Growth of Single Layer Transition Metal Carbides

In situ Growth of Single Layer Transition Metal Carbides

Scientific Achievement
STEM images show morphological evolution of Ti3C2 MXene before (room temperature) and after (500°C) homoepitaxial growth of various titanium carbide adlayers on MXene surface. (hi-res image)

Direct observation of single layer transition metal carbide synthesis using bottom-up method that combines experiment and theory to elucidate growth mechanism.

Significance and Impact

Work provides valuable insight of growth mechanisms toward the  future design of bottom-up synthesis methods that can be applied to a large family of two-dimensional transition metal carbides.

Research Details

– In situ scanning transmission electron microscopy (STEM) was used to study the homoepitaxial growth of single-layer TiC on Ti3C2 MXene surfaces at atomic resolution during thermal annealing.

– Growth results from an intricate interplay between migration energy, diffusion energy, substrate-dependent formation energy, and step-edge barrier as revealed by STEM and validated by density functional theory and molecular dynamics.


X. Sang, Y. Xie, D. E. Yilmaz, R. Lotfi, M. Alhabeb, A. Ostadhossein, B. Anasori, W. Sun, X. Li, Kai Xiao, P. R.C. Kent, A. van Duin, Y. Gogotsi, and R. R. Unocic, "In situ atomistic insight into the growth mechanisms of single layer 2D transition metal carbides," Nature Commun. 9, 2266 (2018). DOI:10.1038/s41467-018-04610-0

CNMS Researchers