The ability to tailor and tune matter at the very small scale is not only scientifically interesting, but also technologically very important. The discovery of new properties that make nanoparticles very different from their respective bulk materials is one of the most important achievements of nanotechnology. Forces and properties of nanoscale building blocks can indeed substantially deviate from the bulk because of the very small size of the structures. The energy levels in these tiny structures are intermediate between those of both molecules and bulk counterparts, with the possibility to tune their properties by tuning the size and shape of the building blocks. At the next level of control there is also the opportunity to combine uniform building blocks and obtain hierarchical architectures with an added degree of complexity. Self-assembly is therefore used as a tool to engineer complex structures for a specific task or to maximize interactions in multifunctional materials.
In this area, the Cargnello group explores the synthesis of new nanoscale building blocks and their assembly into hierarchical structures that allow the communication (catalytic or electronic) between different materials and phases. The interactions are controlled at the nanoscale level to allow flow of energy or matter from one component to another, leading to controlled and improved properties.
Cargnello, M.*; Johnston-Peck, A. C.*; Diroll, B. T.*; Wong, E.; Datta, B.; Damodhar, D.; Doan-Nguyen, V. V. T.; Herzing, A. A.; Kagan, C. R.; Murray, C. B. “Substitutional doping in nanocrystals superlattices.”, Nature 2015, 524, 450, cover article “Midas touch” (* = equal contribution).
Cargnello, M.*; Agarwal, R.*; Klein, D. R.; Diroll, B. T.; Agarwal, R.; Murray, C. B. “Uniform Bimetallic Nanocrystals by High-Temperature Seed-Mediated Colloidal Synthesis and Their Catalytic Properties for Semiconducting Nanowire Growth.”, Chem. Mater. 2015, 27, 5833-5838, (* = equal contribution).
Cargnello, M.; Doan-Nguyen, V.; Gordon, T. R.; Paik, T.; Diaz, R. E.; Stach, E. A.; Gorte, R. J.; Fornasiero, P.; Murray, C. B. “Control of Metal Nanocrystal Size Reveals Metal-Support Interface Role for Ceria Catalysts.”, Science 2013, 341, 771.