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Shape Matching in Superatom Chemistry and Assembly

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journal contribution
posted on 2020-06-30, 19:05 authored by Jingjing Yang, Feifan Wang, Jake C. Russell, Taylor J. Hochuli, Xavier Roy, Michael L. Steigerwald, Xiaoyang Zhu, Daniel W. Paley, Colin Nuckolls
Creating structures with superatomic nanoclusters rather than atoms offers the possibility of new hierarchical solids with collective properties. The variability of chemical compositions, sizes, and shapes of these superatomic building blocks provides great opportunities to access unknown assemblies. Herein we explore this concept by using geometrically anisotropic superatomic nanoclusters as building blocks. We reveal a series of novel superatomic architectures that are built from rod-shaped Co12Se16(PEt3)10 and C140 nanoclusters. More importantly, these assemblies show nonclose packings that afford voids to accommodate solvent molecules as a result of the shape anisotropy of the constituent building blocks. These intercalated small molecules act as “crystal modulators” to modulate the solid-state structures and properties. As a result, we are able to tune the crystal packings and optical gaps of the solids and see the moment when electrical conduction is “turned on”. Our results demonstrate the vast potential of using anisotropic superatomic nanoclusters to create solid-state materials and provide a novel approach to configure their assemblies and properties.

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