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Chemical Templates for Nanocluster Assembly

This graphic depicts activity of the Chemical Templates for Nanocluster Assembly work unit. The objective is to synthesize and assemble highly structured materials into well-defined hierarchical architectures having useful electronic properties. The approach is to deposit gold nanoclusters by self-assembly chemical reactions onto electron-beam fabricated microelectronic substrates. The first depiction displays the core and shell components of the gold nanocluster. The dimensions of these components are controlled by the cluster synthesis reaction conditions and are critical determinants of electron transport. The cluster shell is an organic monomolecular layer encapsulation of the core and offers great versatility in tailoring the properties of the clusters. Many organic thiol molecules have been synthesized for this purpose, and the ethylene oxide thiol is depicted as a highlight. This shell makes the corresponding cluster water soluble without being ionic and has important consequences for DNA functionalization and electron transport between clusters. The second depiction is an artistic sketch of processing clusters in one-dimensional alignment between two contacting electrodes via a DNA template. A highlight in the direction of this objective is the preparation of an ethylene oxide encapsulated gold cluster having a singly tethered DNA codon. This is a critical step toward the objective depicted. Applications of this gold cluster synthesis and processing are in the development of metal-insulator-metal ensemble (MIME) chemical vapor sensors (third depiction) and in nanoelectronics, which takes advantage of nonlinear conductivities of these materials.

Contact the Principal Investigator, Arthur Snow, for more information


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