Electromagnetic signals are everywhere among common technologies such as radio, TV, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and cellular networks. However, under such a crowded wave, electronic devices will be subject to a large number of interference, thus weakening the connection, reducing the speed of data transmission, and affecting the function of the device. Electromagnetic interference is a serious problem for electronic devices, so shielding materials are usually placed around components. These materials are usually thin-film foils such as copper, which reflect the wrong signal into the air. While these materials can do the job, they add unnecessary volume to the equipment.
Now, engineers at Drexel University have discovered that a two-dimensional material called titanium carbon nitride is a good shielding material, thanks to its ability to absorb rather than reflect electromagnetic waves. To prevent this from happening, engineers build shielding materials in the equipment, enclosing important components. In the search for smaller shielding materials, Drexel researchers stumbled upon titanium carbon nitride. It belongs to a class of two-dimensional materials called MXenes, which has previously been shown to be used to make conductive clays, sprayable antennas, and electrodes that can increase the speed of battery charging.
In this case, the team found that titanium-titanium sheets of carbon nitride, much thinner than human hair, were able to block electromagnetic interference better than copper foil, and that blocking performance by three to five times. The team found that titanium carbide actually absorbs the signals, rather than reflecting them out. This means that they eventually reduce the overall noise in the environment. The researchers found that most of the electromagnetic waves were absorbed by a layered titanium-nitride film. It’s like kicking the trash away or picking it up, which is ultimately a better solution. “
Thanks to this absorption capacity and its inherent thinness, titanium carbide can be used to wrap components in a device alone, so they don’t interfere with each other even at close range, the team said.