Researchers discuss the future of MXene-based nanogenerators

As the effects of climate change worsen, the need for efficient and more environmentally friendly ways to produce energy is paramount. Current energy production methods can negatively impact the environment, releasing gases such as carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide into the atmosphere and contributing to global warming.

Study: MXene-based materials for advanced nanogenerators. Image credit: sakkmesterke/Shutterstock.com

In a move towards more sustainable, environmentally friendly energy production, a study published in the journal Nano-energypresents an innovative approach to producing energy using MXenes, a material used in advanced nanogenerators.

Greener energy

With the increasing danger of climate change and the resulting energy problems, researching and using sustainable and clean energy sources has suddenly become an important topic in modern society.

Mechanical energy, one of the most abundant sources of energy, has easy access, continuity and universal existence. Yet most of this energy source is often overlooked and wasted.

Advanced nano generator technology

Modern nanogenerator technologies have recently been efficiently developed and used for converting mechanical energy into electrical energy.

This advanced nanogenerator technology is not only uninhibited by geography and environmental factors, but can also be used in a wide variety of applications.

Advanced nanogenerators have already shown attractive applications in the form of multifunctional self-powered sensors and portable power supplies. These applications are due to the advanced nanogenerators with simple design, ease of manufacture, extremely efficient energy conversion and good cost-effectiveness.

Nevertheless, due to the low output performance of advanced nanogenerators, their long-term practical implementation remains a long way off.

MXenes and what makes them so special

MXenes develop 2D transition metals in the form of nitrides, carbides and carbonitrides. This material has several advantages, including strong electronegativity, metallic conductivity, excellent mechanical properties and an abundance of surface groups.

MXenes-associated composites for advanced nanogenerators are expected to take advantage of the functions associated with MXenes, improving electronegativity, increasing conductivity and optimizing mechanical properties, resulting in dramatically improved output performance.

Previous research on MXenes

MXenes have been widely developed and used to build high performance advanced nanogenerators to improve the efficiency of renewable energy harvesting.

The significant increase in research papers and associated citations since 2016 points to a tremendous growth in studying power generation using MXenes.

However, the key features, inherent optimization processes and design techniques of MXene-associated composites for advanced nanogenerators have never been assessed before. This makes it difficult to gain significant insight into the future growth of MXenes-associated composites and their use in advanced nanogenerators.

Basis of current research on MXenes-associated materials

In this study, the researchers first highlighted the most recent breakthroughs in MXenes-associated materials for both piezoelectric and triboelectric advanced nanogenerators.

To begin with, the team examined the fundamentals of piezoelectric and triboelectric advanced nanogenerators, including key features, functioning processes and obstacles.

The study also discussed the superior properties of MXenes-associated materials for both types of advanced nanogenerators. Thereafter, the design strategies and function of MXenes in improving the performance level of the advanced nanogenerators were thoroughly investigated.

The development background and applicability of MXenes-associated materials for both triboelectric and piezoelectric enhanced nanogenerators were highlighted.

Finally, the researchers provided some thoughts and recommendations on future design strategies for MXenes-associated composites for advanced nanogenerators.

Results of the study

In this study, MXenes-based composites for PENGs and TENGs were thoroughly investigated by the team. The team pointed out that advanced nanogenerators are intriguing candidates for use in mechanical energy harvesting, developing multifunctional sensors, and other applications.

The logical integration of MXenes with polyvinylidene difluoride, polydimethylsiloxane, polytetrafluoroethylene, silver, gold and carbon nanotubes and oxides enhanced the performance level of advanced nanogenerators by leveraging the superior advantages of metallic conductivity, flexibility, electronegativity and adaptable surface chemistry.

The team concluded by stating that MXenes can significantly increase the conductivity and electronegativity of the advanced nanogenerators, enabling fast electron transit, exceptional flexibility, surface charge control and the ability to improve cycle durability/stability.

Tian, ​​J., An, Y., & Xu, B. (2022). MXene-based materials for advanced nanogenerators. Nano-energy† Available at: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.nanoen.2022.107556

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