Mapping the biological activity of new 2D materials: MXenes
MXenes are a large new family of 2D materials with different physicochemical properties. How can we classify their characteristics in relation to their biological activity to open breakthrough perspectives for their safe design and application as nanotools in biomedicine?
Transition metal carbides, nitrides and carbonitrides (MXenes) offer more than a thousand potential stoichiometric compositions and an infinite number of solid solutions, becoming the fastest-growing family of two-dimensional (2D) materials beyond graphene.
Their hydrophilicity (water dispersible with no additives), and desirable optical, electrical, and mechanical properties, differentiate MXenes from other 2D materials. Thanks to their outstanding physicochemical properties, which can be tuned based on chemistry and synthesis methods, they have attracted tremendous academic and industrial interest, being evaluated for a variety of applications, from energy storage, catalysis, and biomedicine to communications and sensing.
However, the evaluation of their safety and potential effects on human health is challenging due to the wide variety of different types of MXenes as well as the possible variation in their physicochemical properties that could affect their biocompatibility and biological interactions.
Rapid material innovation requires the study of the correlations between the different structures, sizes, chemical composition, and functionalization of the materials and their biological activity that can guide their safe design and the selection of suitable application-oriented properties.
The project aims at revealing and classifying MXene biological effects and interactions based on their different physicochemical properties. The accurate characterization of the materials considering their biological properties and intrinsic physical and chemical characteristics will open breakthrough perspectives for the development of safe materials for a wide variety of applications, including the development of new therapeutic approaches applying MXenes as nanotools in biomedicine.
Laura Fusco, Lindau Alumna 2022
University of Padua, Italy