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Wednesday, 15 January 2014

New method for the controlled growth of functional nanowires

ICN2, ICMAB (CSIC), Paul Scherrer Institut and IMB-CNM (CSIC) researchers have published in ACS NANO the controlled synthesis of nanowires from amino acid-supported framework using a room-temperature microfluidic-assisted templated growth method.

The localization and integration of functional materials on surfaces is important for rapid device fabrication, and bottom-up chemical approaches are particularly attractive. Among the several approaches employed so far, templated growth techniques have proven to be the most effective methods to localize and control the growth of monodisperse functional structures with nanoscale spatial resolution. Nonetheless, in many cases, these approaches are time-consuming, labor intensive, and frequently require the use of expensive equipment. Therefore, a longstanding challenge in the field is to develop new approaches where sequential multiple chemical modifications can be performed under controlled mild conditions economically without the need for post-assembly manipulation that could affect the performance of the material.

In this context, a team of researchers from the Institut Catala de Nanociencia i Nanotecnologia (ICN2, Spain) - Marta Rubio-Martinez, Dr Inhar Imaz and Prof Daniel Maspoch -, the Institut de Ciencia de Materials de Barcelona (ICMAB-CSIC, Spain), - Dr Josep Puigmarti-Luis, Dr Angel Pérez del Pino and Prof. David B. Amabilino -, the Laboratory for Waste Management, Department for Nuclear Energy and Safety Research, Paul Scherrer Institut (Switzerland) - Benjamin Z. Cvetkovi -, and the Institut de Microelectronica de Barcelona ( IMB-CNM (CSIC), Spain) - Llibertat Abad -, have provided the first strong evidence that a coordination polymer can be used to template the growth of functional nanometer scale matter through sequential chemical reactions.

The work has been published in ACS NANO under the title “Localized, Stepwise Template Growth of Functional Nanowires from an Amino Acid-Supported Framework in a Microfluidic Chip” (link to the article). In the article, the researchers report that both continuous chemical events and a controlled crystal template growth are possible with a clamp-based microfluidic approach.

A unique and straight-forward synthetic route for producing functional and crystalline Ag(I)TCNQ nanowire bundles from an amino acid-supported coordination framework (Ag(I)Cys CP) is described, where mild conditions were used. Also, a precise localization and integration of conductive Ag(I)TCNQ nanowire bundles to electrode arrays located underneath the clamp area was demonstrated. Thus, unlike other techniques where the material is formed upon evaporation, this soft bottom-up approach allows the parallel template formation of molecular nanostructures from solution on device surfaces with no need for post-assembly manipulation to reach the functioning system.

The in situ reaction and washing procedures make this approach a powerful one for the fabrication of multicomponent complex systems. The authors envision the use of the present method to a variety of other systems and structures, therefore expanding and opening up new powerful routes for a localized synthesis and integration of other functional hybrid systems which could further be employed in optoelectronic applications, sensing, and catalysis. Thus, the reported results should also open new possibilities in the ambitious route of biomolecular scaffolding and device fabrication.

For more information, please contact:

Prof Daniel Maspoch - ICREA Research Professor and Group Leader

Supramolecular NanoChemistry & Materials Group (NANOUP, visit www.nanoup.org)

Tel: +34 937 373 601

E-mail: daniel.maspoch@icn.cat

Funding: II thanks the MINECO for the Ramon y Cajal Fellow.