Synthesis of ultrathin metal oxide and hydroxide nanosheets using formamide in water at room temperature

Zongkun Chen,   Minghua Huang   and  Helmut Cölfen  

The rational preparation of ultrathin two-dimensional metal oxide and hydroxide nanosheets is the first and crucial step towards their utilization in both fundamental research and practical applications. From the perspective of the production cost, the further development of such materials remains a challenging task. Therefore, it is highly desirable to synthesize these materials via a simple and general strategy at room temperature. Besides, less attention has been paid to investigate their growth process, leading to ambiguous formation mechanisms and the lack of guiding principles for designing the targeted ultrathin 2D metal oxides and hydroxides. Here, 6 different ultrathin (<5 nm) 2D metal oxides and hydroxides have been successfully synthesized via a simple precipitation route in formamide aqueous solution at room temperature. Detailed investigations demonstrate that the formation of the ultrathin morphology relies on the inhibition of the z-direction growth by the –NH2 groups of the formamide molecules. These findings broaden the fundamental understanding of 2D material formation mechanisms and inspire interest in extending this strategy to further systems. Our study opens a new avenue for an easy, general and room temperature synthesis of ultrathin 2D metal oxides and hydroxides.!divAbstract