Synthetic Design Tools for Complex Inorganic Solids and Nanostructures
Synthesis is the gateway to new materials, and design strategies that provide a rational synthetic framework are critical for accessing increasingly complex solids and nanostructures. We have been developing a library of chemical design tools that conceptually parallel some of the guiding principles that underpin molecular organic synthesis. We then use these tools and concepts to design new solids with crystal structures that are inaccessible using established methods, as well as new nanoscale heterostructures that contain multiple materials components with pre-defined spatial organization. This talk will highlight recent results involving the use of nanoparticles as templates to synthesize new compounds that are not generally considered to be stable, including magnetic intermetallic compounds and chalcogenide semiconductors. This talk will also describe a “total synthesis” paradigm for the multi-step synthesis of complex colloidal nanoparticle heterostructures with direct solid-state interfaces. For example, a library of colloidal nanoparticle heterodimers, heterotrimers, and heterotetramers can be routinely synthesized with predictable and chemoselective control over phase nucleation using solid-state analogues of orthogonal reactivity, protection / deprotection, site-specific reactivity, and substituent effects.