Subnanometer-Diameter Wires Isolated in a Polymer Matrix by Fast Polymerization

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Science  09 Aug 1996:
Vol. 273, Issue 5276, pp. 782-784
DOI: 10.1126/science.273.5276.782


The preparation and analysis of inorganic-organic polymer nanocomposites consisting of inorganic nanowires and multiwire “cables” in a random-coil organic polymer host is reported. Dissolution of inorganic (LiMo3Se3)n wires in a strongly coordinating monomer, vinylene carbonate, and the use of a rapid polymerization in the presence of a cross-linking agent produce nanocomposites without phase separation. Polymerization of dilute solutions yields a material containing mostly (Mo3Se3)n mono- and biwires, 6 to 20 angstroms in diameter and 50 to 100 nanometers long. Polymerization of more concentrated liquid crystalline solutions yields a nanocomposite containing oriented multiwire cables, 20 to 40 angstroms in diameter and up to 1500 nanometers long, that display optical anisotropy and electrical conductivity.