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Hybrid nanoscale inorganic cages

IFF-News October 1, 2010

by Janet E Macdonald, Maya Bar Sadan, Lothar Houben, Inna Popov, and Uri Banin

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Cage structures exhibit inherent high symmetry and beauty, and both naturally occurring and synthetic molecular-scale cages have been discovered. Their characteristic high surface area and voids have led to their use as catalysts and catalyst supports, filtration media and gas storage materials. J. MacDonald reports the integration of two powerful concepts of cages and hybrid nanoparticles, combining copper sulfide, a common mineral with semiconducting properties, and ruthenium, a metal with exceptional chemical-catalytic properties.

A previously unknown edge growth mechanism has led to a new type of cage-structured nanoparticle; a ruthenium cage was grown selectively on the edges of a faceted copper-sulphide nanocrystal, contrary to the more commonly observed facet and island growth modes of other hybrids. The three-dimensional motif of emptied cages, which was confirmed by careful analysis and with the aid of the Ernst Ruska-Centre, was exploited to achieve cages containing other semiconductors. Such previously unknown nano-inorganic cage structures with variable cores and metal frames manifest new chemical, optical and electronic properties and demonstrate possibilities for uses in electrocatalysis.

Further reading:

Janet E Macdonald, Maya Bar Sadan, Lothar Houben, Inna Popov, and Uri Banin: Hybrid nanoscale inorganic cages,

Nature Materials 9 (2010) 800-815.


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