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Nanolamelar materials

The Mn+1AXn  phases, or “MAX” phases, are nano-laminates where M is an early transition metal, A belongs to groups 13-16 and X is either C or N. They were discovered some decades ago. However, it is only at the end of the 20th century that the possibility to obtain them in the form of almost pure, polycrystalline samples really initiated a research field which has since then been continuously expanding. MAX phase research has received a new impetus a few years ago, after it was demonstrated that many members of this nano-lamellar family could be transformed in two-dimensional (2D) materials called MXenes. Both MAX phases and MXenes attract the interest of the scientific community because they present exceptional conducting and mechanical properties, are highly stable and could be used in a large number of applications, whenever combining the good properties of metals to those of ceramics is sought for (e.g., highly stable volumetric capacitances with extreme capacitance values). Our specificity is the production of single crystals of those phases.

 Permanent staff

Thierry Ouisse
Odette Chaix
Eirni Sarigiannidou
Isabelle Gélard

No permanent staff

Damir Pinek (PhD)
Thanasis Gkountaras (PhD)
XXXX (PostDoc)

We grow single crystals of MAX phases using high temperature solution growth [6,8] eand determine their physical properties, focusing on the anisotropies expected from their nano-lamellar structure. To cite but a few examples, in collaboration with our various partners, we recently measured magneto-transport [3,7], band structure [4] or phonon dispersion anisotropies of MAX phase single crystals[2]. We also use our crystals for producing MXenes and studying their physical properties [7]. We just started to investigate new magnetic MAX phases and associated Mxenes within the frame of a European project involving LMGP, NEEL Institute, Linköping University (LiU), Université Catholique de Louvain (UCL) and ESRF as main partners. We do not limit ourselves to nano-lamellar carbides, but we also started to develop activities on nano-lamellar borides in collaboration with Drexel (Philadelphia) [5].


1 A. Champagne, L. Shi, T. Ouisse, B. Hackens and J.C. Charlier, “Electronic and vibrational properties of V2C-based MXenes: from experiments to first-principles modelling”, Phys. Rev. B 97, 115439 (2018)

2 A. Champagne, F. Bourdarot, P. Bourges, P. Piekarz, D. Pinek, I. Gélard, J.-C. Charlier and T. Ouisse, “Phonon dispersion curves in Cr2AlC single-crystals”, Mat. Res. Lett. 6, 378-383 (2018)

3 T. Ouisse and M.W. Barsoum, “Magnetotransport in the MAX phases and their 2D derivatives: MXenes”, Mat. Res. Lett. 5, 365-378 (2017)

4 T. Ito, D. Pinek, T. Fujita, M. Nakatake, S.I. Ideta, K.Tanaka and T. Ouisse, “Electronic structure of Cr2AlC as observed by angle-resolved photoemission spectroscopy”, Phys. Rev. B 96, 195168 (2017)

5 O. Chaix-Pluchery, A. Thore, S. Kota, J. Halim, C. Hu, J. Rosen, T. Ouisse and M.W. Barsoum, “First-order Raman scattering in three-layered Mo-based ternaries: MoAlB, Mo2Ga2C and Mo2GaC”, J. Raman Spectrosc. (2017)

 6 L. Shi, T. Ouisse, E. Sarigiannidou, O. Chaix-Pluchery, H. Roussel, D. Chaussende and B. Hackens, “Synthesis of single crystals of V2AlC phase by high temperature solution growth and slow cooling technique”, Acta Materialia 83, 304-309 (2015)

7 T. Ouisse, L. Shi, B. Piot, B. Hackens, V. Mauchamp and D. Chaussende, “Magneto-transport properties of nearly free electrons in two-dimensional hexagonal metals and application to the Mn+1AXn phases”, Phys. Rev. B 92, 045133 (2015)

 8 T. Ouisse, E. Sarigiannidou, O. Chaix-Pluchery, H. Roussel, B. Doisneau and D. Chaussende, "High temperature solution growth and characterization of Cr2AlC MAX phase single crystals", J. Cryst. Growth 384, 88-95 (2013)


MORE-MAX (2018-2021, coordinator):
Type: International Strategic Partnerships (ISP) program, IDEX call of the Univ. Grenoble-Alpes+ESRF.
Aim: To probe the magnetism of each chemical element inside Rare-Earth-based MAX phases using macroscopic single crystals, to probe the magnetic interactions.
Partners: European Synchrotron Radiation Facility (ESRF, Grenoble), Linköping University (LiU).

 MORE-MXenes (2018-2021, coordinator):
Type: “Flagera call 2017”, European program belonging to the Graphene Flagship program
Aim: To produce Magnetically-Ordered-Rare-Earth-based MAX phases, the associated MXenes and investigate their magnetic properties and potential for spin injection.
Partners: Linköping University (LiU), Néel Institute (Grenoble), Université Catholique de Louvain (UCL).

Chair-of-Excellence Program of M. W. Barsoum (2017-2019, coordinator):
Type: Nanosciences Foundation program, UGA Foundation, Univ. Grenoble-Alpes.
Aim: To produce MXenes of large area from MAX single crystals and fabricate 2D electron devices.
Partners: Drexel University (Philadelphia), Néel Institute (Grenoble), PHELIQS-INAC (Grenoble).

MAXICRYST (2014-2017, ended, coordinator)
Type: Agence Nationale de la Recherche (ANR), National project.
Aim: To produce single crystals of MAX phases of macroscopic size and investigate their physical anisotropies.
Partners: PPRIME Institute (Poitiers), LNCMI (Grenoble), LMI (Lyon).


  • Drexel (Philadelphia), USA.
  • Linköping University (LiU), Sweden.
  • Université Catholique de Louvain (UCL), Belgium.
  • Nagoya University (Japan).
  • European Synchroton Radiation Facility (ESRF), Grenoble.
  • Institut Laue-Langevin (ILL), Grenoble.
  • Institut PPRIME.

Written by Maria Carmen Jimenez Arevalo

Date of update May 7, 2018

Univ. Grenoble Alpes