University of Pittsburgh
Molecular Descriptions of Nanoscale Synthesis and Materials
Controlling the structure of matter through atom-by-atom synthesis is a fundamental tenet of chemistry. Understanding the formation, structure, and performance of nanomaterials indeed relies on this atom-by-atom control. However, unlike most molecular chemistry, the synthesis of nanomaterials not only involves chemical change of precursors, but also one or more physical phase changes. The interplay of these two particle formation stages introduces terra nova in the way we envision the synthesis of matter, and in particular the parameters we consider when describing mechanisms responsible for the formation of nanostructures. Here, we will focus on the interactions between metal atoms (both in particle precursors as well as at particle surfaces) and pendant ligands (ranging from monoatomic ions to macromolecules), and describe how these interactions predict final particle architectures and physical properties, including dramatic changes in both optoelectronic and magnetic behaviors.