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ORNL’s Xiahan Sang unambiguously resolved the atomic structure of MXene, a 2D material promising for energy storage, catalysis and electronic conductivity. Image credit: Oak Ridge National Laboratory, U.S. Dept. of Energy; photographer Carlos Jones

Researchers have long sought electrically conductive materials for economical energy-storage devices. Two-dimensional (2D) ceramics called MXenes are contenders. Unlike most 2D ceramics, MXenes have inherently good conductivity because they are molecular sheets made from the carbides ...

Vanadium atoms (blue) have unusually large thermal vibrations that stabilize the metallic state of a vanadium dioxide crystal. Red depicts oxygen atoms.

For more than 50 years, scientists have debated what turns particular oxide insulators, in which electrons barely move, into metals, in which electrons flow freely.