Purdue University Graduate School
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posted on 2021-09-01, 00:33 authored by Yen-yu ChenYen-yu Chen

Two-dimensional (2D) transition-metal dichalcogenides (TMDCs) and transition metal carbides/nitrides (MXenes), have been recently receiving attention for gas sensing applications due to their high specific area and rich surface functionalities. However, using pristine 2D materials for gas-sensing applications presents some drawbacks, including high operation temperatures, low gas response, and poor selectivity, limiting their practical sensing applications. Moreover, one of the long-standing challenges of MXenes is their poor stability against hydration and oxidation in a humid environment, which negatively influences their long- term storage and applications. Many studies have reported that the sensitivity and selectivity of 2D materials can be improved by surface functionalization and hybridization with other materials.

In this work, the effects of surface functionalization and/or hybridization of these two materials classes (TMDCs and MXenes) on their gas sensing performance have been investigated. In one of the lines of research, 2D MoS2 nanoflakes were functionalized with Au nanoparticles as a sensing material, providing a performance enhancement towards sensing of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) at room temperature. Next, a nanocomposite film composed of exfoliated MoS2, single-walled carbon nanotubes, and Cu(I)−tris(mercaptoimidazolyl)borate complexes was the sensing material used for the design of a chemiresistive sensor for the selective detection of ethylene (C2H4). Moreover, the hybridization of MXene (Ti3C2Tx) and TMDC (WSe2) as gas-sensing materials was also proposed. The Ti3C2Tx/WSe2 hybrid sensor reveals high sensitivity, good selectivity, low noise level, and ultrafast response/recovery times for the detection of various VOCs. Lastly, we demonstrated a surface functionalization strategy for Ti3C2Tx with fluoroalkylsilane (FOTS) molecules, providing a superhydrophobic surface, mechanical/environmental stability, and excellent sensing performance. The strategies presented here can be an effective solution for not only improving materials' stability, but also enhancing sensor performance, shedding light on the development of next-generation field-deployable sensors.


Degree Type

  • Doctor of Philosophy


  • Materials Engineering

Campus location

  • West Lafayette

Advisor/Supervisor/Committee Chair

Lia A. Stanciu

Additional Committee Member 2

Alexander Wei

Additional Committee Member 3

Maria A. Okuniewski

Additional Committee Member 4

Rahim Rahimi