By Lee Teschler
Engineers trying to shield RF-sensitive circuitry a few years from now may have the option of using material that absorbs RF energy rather than just reflecting it. So say researchers at Drexel University and the Korea Institute of Science and Technology. They are researching a class of material called MXenes, and more specifically, titanium carbonitride MXene that can be processed in a way that lets it absorb electromagnetic radiation.
First described in 2011, MXenes are called two-dimensional compounds because they have a structure consisting of layers that are only a few atoms thick. The material itself consists of transition metal carbides, nitrides, or carbonitrides. It exhibits a high conductivity because of the metal content and is hydrophilic because the surfaces comprising it have hydroxyl or oxygen terminations.
Researchers stumbled onto the RF absorption property when they annealed titanium carbonitride MXene at 350ºC. The heat oxidized the material enough to remove intercalated water and hydroxyl surface terminations and thereby push the surfaces closer together as well as give them some porosity.