Tunable intraparticle frameworks for creating complex heterostructured nanoparticle libraries

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Science  04 May 2018:
Vol. 360, Issue 6388, pp. 513-517
DOI: 10.1126/science.aar5597

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Retrosynthesizing complex nanostructures

The solution synthesis of complex and asymmetric nanostructures is still challenging. For many applications, it will be important to gain simultaneous control over particle size and morphology, constituent materials, and internal interfaces. Fenton et al. have developed a strategy that mimics chemical retrosynthesis, starting with simple nanoparticle synthons—in this case, Cu1.8S nanoparticles, nanorods, and nanosheets. Various types of interfaces and junctions can be introduced, for example, by cation substitution. This intervention breaks the symmetry of the synthons and assembles them into higher-order structures. The nanostructures can thus be formed with asymmetric, patchy, porous, or sculpted regions.

Science, this issue p. 513


Complex heterostructured nanoparticles with precisely defined materials and interfaces are important for many applications. However, rationally incorporating such features into nanoparticles with rigorous morphology control remains a synthetic bottleneck. We define a modular divergent synthesis strategy that progressively transforms simple nanoparticle synthons into increasingly sophisticated products. We introduce a series of tunable interfaces into zero-, one-, and two-dimensional copper sulfide nanoparticles using cation exchange reactions. Subsequent manipulation of these intraparticle frameworks yielded a library of 47 distinct heterostructured metal sulfide derivatives, including particles that contain asymmetric, patchy, porous, and sculpted nanoarchitectures. This generalizable mix-and-match strategy provides predictable retrosynthetic pathways to complex nanoparticle features that are otherwise inaccessible.

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