One-dimensional (1D) and two-dimensional (2D) inorganic nanomaterials have attracted considerable attention over the past decade as they often offer unique physical and chemical properties that can be used in a variety of applications. Inorganic metal oxides with 1D or 2D extended building blocks have been extensively explored as an ideal source of molecular wires or nanosheets through exfoliation. However, the energy-intensive and time-consuming processes for exfoliation of materials and dispersion of nanostructures in media pose formidable challenges to commercialization. Most other isolation methods—including ion exchange, powder vaporization, chemical vaporization, atomic layer deposition, and molecular beam epitaxy—are also costly.
Researchers at Arizona State University have identified early transition metal oxide compounds containing molecular wires and nanosheets that are directly soluble in organic solvents. These compounds include tungstite (WO3∙ H2O), titanyl sulfate dihydrate (TiOSO4∙ 2H2O), and MoO2(H2O)(HPO4). During the isolation process, the bulk crystals are dissolved while the nanostructures remain intact. The inorganic nanostructures can then be precipitated out using a variety of techniques which produce inorganic-organic hybrid materials.
• Extraction of nanostructures for use in
o Antimicrobial films and paints
o Flame retardants
o Electrochromic devices
Benefits and Advantages
• Scalable and efficient
• Uses only organic solvents and heat
• Reduces processing time and energy costs