What role can MXenes have in microscale energy storage?

A pre-proof paper from the magazine Energy storage materials provides a critical and thorough assessment of progress in MXenes microfabrication technologies for microscale energy storage devices (MESDs) such as micro-supercapacitors and microbatteries.

Study: Recent Status and Future Prospects of 2D MXene for Micro-Supercapacitors and Micro-Batteries† Image Credit: Black_Kira/Shutterstock.com

Two-dimensional MXene-based composites hold great promise for MESD applications in wearable and nanoscale electronics. Several microfabrication methods have been used so far to make MXene-based microelectrodes for MESDs.

Different approaches influence not only the layout of the device, but also the morphology of MXene electrodes and the electrochemical effectiveness of micro-supercapacitors and microbatteries.

Microscale Energy Storage Devices (MESDs) – The Future of Electronics

The introduction of smart electronics to realize the “Internet of Everything” ambition, which is characterized by integrative, wearable and multifunctional microelectronics, has led to the rapid growth of compatible microscale energy storage devices (MESDs) such as micro-supercapacitors ( MSCs). ) and micro batteries (MBs).

In recent years, MESDs have been highly promoted for applications in microscale monitoring systems, micro/nano robots, self-powered delivery systems, implanted medical devices, patient monitoring and GPS systems. As a result, the desire to reduce the size of electronics from the meter to the micro and nano level increases the urgent need for microenergy sources.

Limitations of traditional energy storage devices

The conventional electrochemical energy storage devices (EESDs) have a sandwich-like construction made of two electrodes, an electrolyte and a distributor, with specific structural and size limitations. To address this issue, it is critical to provide high performance MESDs with great flexibility, adaptability and interoperability with microelectronics.

Micro-supercapacitors and micro-batteries are representative MESDs that can be directly connected to microelectronics as individual micro-scale power sources or as a complement to nano-sized power conversion modules such as solar panels and nano-generators, reducing the dislocation, predictability and arbitrariness of renewable solar and mechanical energy.

MXenes as electrode materials for MESDs

Electrode materials, which are a critical component of MESDs, play a critical role in determining overall effectiveness. As a result, unique high-performance electrode substances with good conductivity and significant charge storage capacity are required.

MXene is recognized as a potential electrocatalyst for micro-supercapacitors and microbatteries due to its special properties, such as high electrical conductivity, fast electron transmission, ionic dispersion, excellent wettability, increased thermal reliability, controllable interlayer spacing and configurable morphology.

Microfabrication of MXene-based micro-supercapacitors (MSCs)

As a special type of MESD, micro supercapacitors have the mixed benefits of a shortened ion transit route, higher energy density and longer operational life cycle than conventional supercapacitors. Not only does it solve the problem of low energy density of electrochemical capacitors, but it can also be combined with nanoelectronics as an energy source, quickly producing efficient energy peaks.

MXenes considered exciting electrode materials for use in micro-supercapacitors. MXenes are generally ultra-thin, have a high stack density and are mechanically stable. This benefits both the electrode material and the current collectors, resulting in micro-supercapacitors with light weight, extensibility and easy integration.

Highly efficient energy storage devices require configurable microfabrication of micro-supercapacitors with good geometric characteristics, performance and integration. The wet chemical etching process is currently the primary MXene synthesis technique. Filtration, stamping, printing, coating and deposition are some other microfabrication strategies for MXene-based supercapacitors.

MXene-based microbatteries (MBs): development and challenges

The production of adaptable and compact MBs is critical due to the urgent need to integrate microelectronic systems with small batteries. Large scale MB production requires excellent compatibility and downsizing, requiring the production of multi-layer MBs with adjustable geometries.

However, producing durable MBs with relatively high payload, large capacity and energy density is difficult. The design and implementation of electrode materials with higher ion electron conductivity are essential to control the performance of MBs in this regard.

MXenes have strong ionic conductivity, adaptability and functional quality, making them suitable materials for the development of microbatteries.

Future look

The problems related to the inherent characteristics of MXene should be solved, improving the efficient ion absorption, intercalation and electron transfer, thereby improving the electrolytic connection between electrode and electrolyte. Creating new MXene materials is an important step in improving the effectiveness of micro-supercapacitors and microbatteries.

The microfabrication techniques for microelectrode design are also critical for producing high-performance MXene-based MESDs. Proper equipment layout is necessary to further minimize the size of MESDs without affecting device performance. The demonstration of fully printed MESDs is currently quite limited, but this will become an important research path in the future.

Apart from pushing the boundaries of high electrochemical efficacy, MXene-based micro-supercapacitors and microbatteries are expected to acquire intelligent multifunctionalities, accelerating their applicability in various electronics-based sectors.


Zhu, Y. et al. (2022). Recent status and future perspectives of 2D MXene for micro-supercapacitors and microbatteries. Energy storage materials† Available at: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ensm.2022.06.044

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