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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Laser-sculptured ultrathin transition metal carbide layers for energy storage and energy harvesting applications.

  • Author(s): Zang, Xining
  • Jian, Cuiying
  • Zhu, Taishan
  • Fan, Zheng
  • Wang, Wanlin
  • Wei, Minsong
  • Li, Buxuan
  • Follmar Diaz, Mateo
  • Ashby, Paul
  • Lu, Zhengmao
  • Chu, Yao
  • Wang, Zizhao
  • Ding, Xinrui
  • Xie, Yingxi
  • Chen, Juhong
  • Hohman, J Nathan
  • Sanghadasa, Mohan
  • Grossman, Jeffrey C
  • Lin, Liwei
  • et al.

Ultrathin transition metal carbides with high capacity, high surface area, and high conductivity are a promising family of materials for applications from energy storage to catalysis. However, large-scale, cost-effective, and precursor-free methods to prepare ultrathin carbides are lacking. Here, we demonstrate a direct pattern method to manufacture ultrathin carbides (MoCx, WCx, and CoCx) on versatile substrates using a CO2 laser. The laser-sculptured polycrystalline carbides (macroporous, ~10-20 nm wall thickness, ~10 nm crystallinity) show high energy storage capability, hierarchical porous structure, and higher thermal resilience than MXenes and other laser-ablated carbon materials. A flexible supercapacitor made of MoCx demonstrates a wide temperature range (-50 to 300 °C). Furthermore, the sculptured microstructures endow the carbide network with enhanced visible light absorption, providing high solar energy harvesting efficiency (~72 %) for steam generation. The laser-based, scalable, resilient, and low-cost manufacturing process presents an approach for construction of carbides and their subsequent applications.

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