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Penn study: Transforming nanowires into nano-tools using cation exchange reactions
Date:10/23/2009

PHILADELPHIA - A team of engineers from the University of Pennsylvania has transformed simple nanowires into reconfigurable materials and circuits, demonstrating a novel, self-assembling method for chemically creating nanoscale structures that are not possible to grow or obtain otherwise.

The research team, using only chemical reactants, transformed semiconducting nanowires into a variety of useful, nanoscale materials including nanoscale metal strips with periodic stripes and semiconducting patterns, purely metallic nanowires, radial heterostructures and hollow semiconducting nanotubes in addition to other morphologies and compositions.

Researchers used ion exchange, one of the two most common techniques for solid phase transformation of nanostructures. Ion (cation/anion) exchange reactions exchange positive or negative ions and have been used to modify the chemical composition of inorganic nanocrystals, as well as create semiconductor superlattice structures. It is the chemical process, for example, that turns hard water soft in many American households.

Future applications of nanomaterials in electronics, catalysis, photonics and bionanotechnology are driving the exploration of synthetic approaches to control and manipulate the chemical composition, structure and morphology of these materials. To realize their full potential, it is desirable to develop techniques that can transform nanowires into tunable but precisely controlled morphologies, especially in the gas-phase, to be compatible with nanowire growth schemes. The assembly, however, is an expensive and labor-intensive process that prohibits cost-effective production of these materials.

Recent research in the field has enabled the transformation of nanomaterials via solid-phase chemical reactions into nonequilibrium, or functional structures that cannot be obtained otherwise.

In this study, researchers transformed single-crystalline cadmium sulfide nanow
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Contact: Jordan Reese
jreese@upenn.edu
215-573-6604
University of Pennsylvania
Source:Eurekalert  

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Penn study: Transforming nanowires into nano-tools using cation exchange reactions
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