Like many 2D materials, numerous properties of MXene multilayers, and especially the most popular one Ti3C2T x , have been shown to significantly depend on their architecture, i.e. the number of layers and interlayer distance. These structural parameters are thus key elements to be characterized for the analysis of MXene properties. Focusing on valence electron energy-loss spectroscopy (VEELS) as performed in a transmission electron microscope (TEM), and using density functional theory (DFT) simulations, we here analyze the layer dependent large changes in the VEEL spectra of Ti3C2T x multilayers as a probe of their total thickness, and emphasize the bulk plasmon energy sensitivity to interlayer distance. Together these findings allow to directly quantify the absolute number of layers in a Ti3C2T x stack up to 1/410 nm thickness and give access to interlayer distance modifications with sub-angstrom sensitivity, evidencing VEELS as a powerful method for the characterization of MXene multilayers on the nanometer scale. We expect these results to be relevant for the study of structure/properties correlations in this class of materials, especially with the development of in situ or environmental TEM experiments.
- density functional theory simulations
- valence electron energy loss spectroscopy
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Materials Science(all)
- Condensed Matter Physics
- Mechanics of Materials
- Mechanical Engineering