Tremendous efforts have been devoted to the synthesis and application of two-dimensional (2D) nanomaterials due to their extraordinary and unique properties in electronics, photonics, catalysis, etc., upon exfoliation from their bulk counterparts. One of the greatest challenges that scientists are confronted with is how to produce large quantities of 2D nanomaterials of high quality in a commercially viable way. This review summarizes the state-of-the-art of the production of 2D nanomaterials using liquid-based direct exfoliation (LBE), a very promising and highly scalable wet approach for synthesizing high quality 2D nanomaterials in mild conditions. LBE is a collection of methods that directly exfoliates bulk layered materials into thin flakes of 2D nanomaterials in liquid media without any, or with a minimum degree of, chemical reactions, so as to maintain the high crystallinity of 2D nanomaterials. Different synthetic methods are categorized in the following, in which material characteristics including dispersion concentration, flake thickness, flake size and some applications are discussed in detail. At the end, we provide an overview of the advantages and disadvantages of such synthetic methods of LBE and propose future perspectives.
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