化学研究报告2013-09-05 2:58 AM

Multiplex Templating Process in One-Dimensional Nanoscale: Controllable Synthesis, Macroscopic Assemblies, and Applications - Accounts of Chemical Research (ACS Publications)

Since their detection 20 years ago, carbon nanotubes (CNTs) have captured the interest of scientists, because one-dimensional (1D) nanostructures (nanowires, nanotubes, and nanoribbons) have fascinating physical properties and many potential technological applications. These are materials with structural features limited to the range of 1–100 nm in one dimension, and unlimited in the others. When their size goes down to certain characteristic lengths, such as the Bohr radius, the wavelength of incandescent light, and the phonon mean-free path, quantum mechanical effects can occur. This results in novel optical, magnetic, and electronic characteristics. These physical properties, along with unique transport features in the longitudinal direction and large surface-to-volume ratio, make 1D nanostructures attract extensive attention in both fundamental research and engineering applications. From a synthetic point of view, it is highly desirable to develop a simple route for fabricating 1D nanostructures in large scale at low cost. On the other hand, in order to transfer the intrinsic features of individual 1D nanostructures into macroscopic scale and realize practical applications, we need to explore highly efficient and scalable assembly methods to integrate 1D nanostructures into functional macroscopic architectures. In 2006, our group developed a simple hydrothermal method for synthesizing ultrathin Te nanowires (TeNWs) using conventional chemicals. As we found through systematic study over the past several years, we can use the ultrathin TeNWs as a versatile templating material to fabricate a series of high-quality 1D nanostructures by taking the unique advantages of TeNWs, such as large-scale synthesis, high processability, and high reactivity. The obtained 1D products inherit the dimensional (high aspect ratio) and mechanical (high flexibility) features of the original TeNW templates, thus allowing us to construct macroscopic architectures by using them as nanoscale building blocks. In this Account, we describe on our recent developments in the multiplex templating synthesis of 1D nanostructures, their macroscopic assemblies, and applications. We first introduce ultrathin TeNWs and their advantages as a templating material. Through the multiplex templating process, we can prepare a family of 1D nanostructures that covers a wide range of materials, including noble metals, metal oxides, semiconductors, carbon, polymers, and their binary and multiple hybrids. We emphasize the reactivity of templating materials and the versatility of templating processes in this Account. On the basis of the templated 1D products, we then describe a series of macroscopic assemblies of 1D nanostructures, including free-standing membranes, films, hydrogels, and aerogels. These exhibit enormous potential for attractive applications, such as liquid filtration and separation, continuous-flow catalysis, electrocatalysis, polymer-based nanocomposites, and superadsorbents, and elastomeric conductors. We believe that the great versatility of templating synthesis, a scalable assembling process, and large-scale synthesis can significantly enhance the application reliability of the 1D nanostructures.

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