A team of researchers, led by Professor Soo-Hyun Kim in the Graduate School of Semiconductors Materials and Devices Engineering and the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at UNIST has made significant progress in precisely controlling precious metals (Ru, Ir, Pt, Pd) incorporation by atomic layer deposition (ALD).
In this study, published in Advanced Science, the team successfully developed unique and unexplored two-dimensional (2D) nanomaterials V-MXene for the very first time coupled with precious metal ruthenium (Ru) through the ALD process. This breakthrough holds immense promise for various applications, both contact and non-contact mode of real-time temperature sensing at the human-machine interface.
The integration of Ru-engineered V-MXene through ALD has demonstrated a remarkable 300% enhancement in device sensing performance and durability, surpassing the capabilities of pristine V-MXene. This advancement not only paves the way towards the creation multifunctional, cutting-edge personal health care devices, but also holds great promises for the progression of clean energy conversion and storage technologies.
Moreover, the utilization of the industrially scalable ALD technique used in this research enables precise engineering of MXene surfaces with precious metals, thereby opening up new possibilities for future applications.
“We are thrilled by the potential of this breakthrough,” said Professor Kim. “The precision-enabled integration of precious metals opens up a whole new world of possibilities in the development of versatile, next-generation, and safe personal health care devices, as well as clean energy conversion and storage systems, with the potential to substantially impact people’s lives.”
Dr. Debananda Mohapatra, an Associate Research Professor in the Graduate School of Semiconductors Materials and Devices Engineering at UNIST, emphasized the ease and versatility of engineering MXene surfaces with precious metals, using industrially favored ALD techniques. He also highlighted the potential for real-time applications in wearable health care devices and clean energy fields. He said, “This successful work marks the beginning of a thriving research field of focused on advancing 2D nanomaterials engineering and applications empowered by ALD.”
The research team further highlighted the vast potential for exploring the less investigated non-Ti-MXenes, such as Mo, V, and Nb-based MXenes, for surface-internal structure engineering using selective precious metals (Ru, Ir, Pt, Pd) ALD processes.
By incorporating single atoms or atomic clusters of precious metals (Ru, Ir, Pt, and Pd), the resulting surface activity and the sensitivity/energy performance per atom can be significantly enhanced. This approach minimizes the use of these scarce and expensive precious metals.