A Soupçon of Phosphate

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Science  20 Oct 2000:
Vol. 290, Issue 5491, pp. 411
DOI: 10.1126/science.290.5491.411c

The self-assembly of complex structures from simple molecular units may be useful in the future in the design of molecular electronic or magnetic devices. To be useful, however, the assembly conditions must be simple and the outcome highly controlled, to yield monodisperse, homogeneous products.

Müller et al. have previously made molybdenum oxide-based nanocapsules that can be opened, closed, and linked to each other. Now they have made a cluster-in-a-cluster compound that spontaneously forms crosslinked layers. The synthesis conditions are remarkably simple, and require only an acidic aqueous solution containing polymolybdate, iron (II) chloride, acetic acid, and a small amount of phosphate. A stepwise assembly process then leads directly to the formation of the layer compound. The encapsulated cluster is negatively charged, and is not covalently bound to the outer, oxidized shell, thus representing an electron reservoir. Furthermore, the individual cluster-in-a-cluster units are strongly paramagnetic, due to the presence of 30 Fe(III) centers per unit in the outer shell. — JU

Angew. Chem. Int. Ed.39, 3413 (2000).

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