This landscape, which looks like a red-rock bluff straight out of Utah, isn’t a geologic feature. Instead, it’s a nanostructured material made from ultrathin layers of titanium-based compounds and seen under an electron microscope.
These exfoliated layers, which Babak Anasori and colleagues at Drexel University in Philadelphia dubbed MXenes, are so thin they are two-dimensional. In other words, each strip is only five atomic layers thick. The team is the first to render such materials in 2D.
The MXenes could be used in energy storage devices, sensors, solar cells, and other applications, the team writes. And they could give the majesty of Arches National Park in Utah some nanoscale competition.
This image won the People’s Choice award in the “Photography” category of the 2011 International Science and Engineering Visualization Challenge appearing in Science, published by AAAS.
Credit: Babak Anasori, Michael Naguib, Yury Gogotsi, Michel W. Barsoum, Drexel University