We report an effective and universal approach for the preparation of ultrathin single- or multiple-component transition-metal hydroxide (TMH) nanosheets with thickness below 5 nm. The unique synthesis benefits from the gradual decomposition of the preformed metal–boron (M-B, M=Fe, Co, Ni, NiCo) composite nanospheres which facilitates the formation of ultrathin nanosheets by the oxidation of the metal and the simultaneous release of boron species. The high specific surface area of the sheets associated with their ultrathin nature promises a wide range of applications. For example, we demonstrate the remarkable adsorption ability of PbIIand AsV in waste water by the ultrathin FeOOH nanosheets. More interestingly, the process can be extended simply to the synthesis of composite structures of metal alloy hollow shells encapsulated by TMH nanosheets, which show excellent catalytic activity in the Heck reaction.
XRD patterns (left), SEM (middle), and AFM (right) images of the as-prepared a),d),g) FeOOH, b),e),h) Co(OH)2, and c),f),i) Ni(OH)2 ultrathin nanosheets. Insets are the corresponding EDX spectra.