Development of chemical strategies to covalently link MOF nanoparticles into superlattices
|Sub Research Field:
BCMaterials is looking for a motivated PhD student to work in the area of metal-organic framework (MOF) superlattices. The plan is to assemble MOF nanoparticles into robust crystalline lattices using covalent bonds. The working hypothesis is that the control over the nanoparticle organization is achievable via interface-mediated assembly.
The approach to structurally align nanoparticles that has emerged over the last years is the
formation of superlattices, that are highly ordered 3D structures with periodic assemblies of
nanoparticles. The fundamental advantage of assembling superlattices is the possibility to
create materials with emergent and enhanced properties, which are determined by
nanocrystal connectivity, interparticle interactions, various superstructure geometries, crystal
symmetry, and composition.
However, the superlattice synthesis with a high degree of periodical order, desirable
superlattice geometry, and large crystalline areas is challenging. Slow solvent evaporation is
one of the most common approaches to assemble nanoparticles into superlattices, driven by
thermodynamic control to reach high-packing density structures by maximizing the free
volume entropy and minimizing the high surface energy. To achieve higher control over the
assembly process, the assistance of functional moieties attached to the nanoparticle surface
(e.g. DNA, proteins, polymers, dendrimers) has been also employed to facilitate interparticle
interactions. So far, nearly all the reported superlattices rely on weak intermolecular forces
among nanoparticles and thus, resulting in materials with limited mechanical, thermal, and
chemical stability. Therefore, the development of a chemistry where nanoparticles are
covalently bound into stable superlattices of macroscale order will pave the way for a wide
range of novel applications and will be carry out in this project with MOF nanoparticles.
SKILLS AND REQUIREMENTS
- Master in chemistry, material science, chemical engineering already finshed or to be finsihed
in this academic year.
- Fluent in oral and written English is mandatory.
- Experience in the synthesis of MOF materials and/or nanoparticles is an asset.
- Experience in material and nanoparticle characterization techniques is an asset.
The plan is to assemble MOF nanoparticles into robust crystalline lattices using covalent
bonds. The working hypothesis is that the control over the nanoparticle organization is
achievable via interface-mediated assembly. First we will develop reliable synthetic protocols
for MOF nanoparticles with monodisperse size and shape, characterize the nanoparticles’
physicochemical properties, and determine the type and quantity of accessible uncoordinated
surface sites that can be used for nanoparticle connection. Then we will covlently link those MOF nanoparticles into superlattices by employing common crystallization techniques reported
in literature, such as solvent evaporation and solvent-antisolvent layering to assemble
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