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Friday, 5 September 2008

Scientists from St Andrews Univ. Accomplished One of the Big Quests in Nanotechnology_Widely acclaimed

Nanotechnology at St. Andrews : click to enlarge photo right.

At long last, this news has given me the opportunity and the necessary motivation to post on what I discovered to be one of the most prominent Scottish Universities active in Materials Chemistry, EaStCHEM School of Chemistry, University of St Andrews.

My under-achievement dates from the blogs creation and first posts 22-23 Feb. 2008, concerning the issue of defining what the field of Materials Chemistry encompasses and what it does not. cf my first post, materials-chemistry-defined .

Here, the work in the Nanotechnology, Materials Chemistry field was first submitted to the Journal Nature, Received 3 December 2007,
Accepted 9 May 2008 and published 31 July 2008. Several commentators echoed this achievement by the team from The Univ. of St Andrews based on The University news release.

(Incidentally and surprisingly the original paper in Nature was the hardest to find via the Internet, perhaps fortunately, due to the highly specialised nature of the work and its specialised title. Ref. in footnote below for follow-up, if required, by the more specialised scientists, technologists and engineers. I for one may not have stumbled upon this work, so much for the critics of "scientific vulgarisation" whatever that is?)

(eg Fig.1 from Nature and detail cf. right and below:
a–c, Structures of melamine (a) and PTCDI (b) and the bonding motif (c). d, Schematic diagram of the network with the unit cell indicated by a dotted rhombus. e, STM image of network recorded in ambient conditions. The dashed line A highlights a fault line. Circled areas B and C mark a pore hosting a PTCDI molecule and a missing PTCDI molecule, respectively. The (73 73)R30° unit cell (D) corresponding to a 35-Å period of the honeycomb is also indicated. The inset shows a Fourier transform. Scale bar, 10 nm. ) Photo links to full size images are available on Natures online site, full links below.

My blog post title "Scientists from St Andrews Univ. Accomplished One of the Big Quests in Nanotechnology' was taken from the following reports more easily read than the paper in Nature, especially by a wider public. The work is described by the research team, contact Dr. Manfred Buck and relayed by several reporters as:
A crucial step in developing minuscule structures with application potential in sophisticated sensors, catalysis, and nanoelectronics has been developed by Scottish researchers. This reached my ears echoed by Danish Colleagues at NILT.

My summary, below, is taken largely from Australian based, AZONANO - AZOM Group Posted August 28th, 2008 , who follow very closely the Universities news release: journalistically entitled a "Big step in tiny technology"

Other commentators have followed the Universities news release: "Big step in tiny technology" These include:-
Media Newswire
Materialsgate, Germany
No 5 on University500 news
NONOVIP Intl Business Directory Submitted by University of St Andrews, Admin on August 30, 2008.

It certainly looks as though The Univ. of St Andrews means business!

The following is my abbreviated SUMMARY:

"Dr Manfred Buck and his team at the University of St Andrews have accomplished one of the big quests in nanotechnology, opening up an exciting new development in tiny technology.
The St Andrews researchers have developed a way of forming an easily modified network of molecules over a large area - the chemical technique provides an advantageous alternative to traditional methods which become increasingly cumbersome at the ultra small length scale.

The key to the development lies in the creation of robust and versatile surface - self-assembling structures just one molecule thick which can be exploited for further control and manipulation of nanostructures.

1/10000 of the diameter of a human hair:
"The potential of this approach lies in its flexibility on a scale, about 1/10000 of the diameter of a human hair. Using molecules as building units, the features of our structures are less than 5 nanometres in size, which enables us to control structures and materials at dimensions where new properties emerge."

Non-Negligible Advantages claimed:
-It works under ambient conditions.
-No sophisticated equipment or special environment - such as a high vacuum - required,
-Easily accessible and adaptable for a wide range of applications.
-The chemical method provides an alternative route to nanostructures created by conventional lithography, which inscribes patterns into surfaces but struggles to be precise on a scale of a few nanometres.

The Method Used to Produce The Structures:
-Solution-based chemistry (ambient temperature-room temperature)
-Self-assembly or SAM's - Self Assembly Systems.

Solution-based chemistry works by assembling molecules into tiny dimples, themselves created when molecules self-assemble into a honeycomb-shaped network on a gold surface.

Some Fundamental Chemistry Considerations:
Such a so-called supra-molecular network is held together by hydrogen bonds -a type of bonding also essential for DNA - and acts as a template to control the arrangement of other molecules.

"In the short term, this development provides us with an easily accessible platform for fundamental studies of phenomena on the ultra-small scale," according to the inventor, Dr Buck .
Gazing into the Future:
"In the future, we might be able to use this technology for the assembly of 'nanomachines', molecular devices used to transport and manipulate molecules and nanometer sized objects," he concluded.

The research is published by The Journal Nature; Letter Nature 454, 618-621 (31 July 2008) doi:10.1038/nature07096; Received 3 December 2007; Accepted 9 May 2008 under the title:

Functionalising hydrogen-bonded surface networks with self-assembled monolayers
Rafael Madueno1,2, Minna T. Räisänen1, Christophe Silien1 & Manfred Buck1
1. EaStCHEM School of Chemistry, University of St Andrews, North Haugh, St Andrews KY16 9ST, UK
2. Present address: Departamento de Química Física, Universidad de Córdoba, Campus de Rabanales, 14014 Cordoba, Spain.

Figs, Tables & Images are also available to subscribers [Link].
Generation of a network–SAM hybrid structure.

Nature's Editor adds the following helpful introduction to the subject

Dr. Manfred Buck and his team at the University of St. Andrews have succeeded in forming and modifying networks of molecules over large areas. The key to the development lies in the creation of robust and versatile surfaces of self-assembling structures just one molecular layer thick which can be exploited for further control and manipulation of nanostructures. The aim is to get exact control over the arrangement of molecules - ultimately at the level of single molecules. Using molecules as building blocks, the features of the structures are less than 5 nanometres in size making this method a strong alternative route to nanostructures created by conventional lithography.
7 other related hand-picked news below.

These links to content published by NPG are automatically generated.

Nanotechnology Patterns from molecular corrals
Nature News and Views (31 Jul 2008, same issue as above) GERMANY
Nanotechnology: Patterns from molecular corrals
Michael Grunze1 of Department of Applied Physical Chemistry, University of Heidelberg, INF 253, 69120 Heidelberg, Germany.

Many nanotechnology devices will require components that consist of arrays of molecules positioned on surfaces with nanometre precision. One way to make these is to let the molecules organize themselves.
A major challenge in nanotechnology is to find a way of positioning molecules and atoms on surfaces in regular patterns, with nanometre precision yet over large
surface areas. Reporting on page 618 of this issue, Madueno et al.1 describe just such a method.

Controlling molecular deposition and layer structure with supramolecular surface assemblies
Nature Letters to Editor (28 Aug 2003)
Electrochemically assisted self-assembly of mesoporous silica thin films
Nature Materials Article (01 Aug 2007) FRANCE
1.Laboratoire de Chimie Physique et Microbiologie pour l'Environnement, URM 7564, CNRS–Nancy University, 405, rue de Vandoeuvre, F-54600 Villers-lès-Nancy, France
2.Service commun de microscopie électronique, Faculté des Sciences, Nancy University, BP 239, F-54506 Vandoeuvre Cedex, France

Spontaneous assembly of subnanometre-ordered domains in the ligand shell of monolayer-protected nanoparticles
Nature Materials Article (01 May 2004) USA.
Department of Materials Science and Engineering, MIT, 77 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02139, USA
Steering molecular organization and host?guest interactions using two-dimensional nanoporous coordination systems
Nature Materials Letter (01 Apr 2004) INTER-MULTI_NATIONAL COOPERATION
1. Max-Planck-Institut für Festkörperforschung, Heisenbergstrasse 1, D-70569 Stuttgart, Germany
2. Institut de Physique des Nanostructures, Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, CH-1015 Lausanne, Switzerland
3. Department of Chemistry and Center for Materials Chemistry, University of Houston, Houston, Texas 77204-5003, USA
4. Advanced Materials and Process Engineering Laboratory, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia V6T 1Z4, Canada

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