Not only jewelry-loving ladies but also scientists and technologists are fascinated by gold–particularly in the form of the smallest clumps imaginable. Gold nanoparticles stand out through their unique optical, electronic, and catalytic properties and are the ideal "building blocks" for nanostructures. Composite materials with a one or two-dimensional arrangement of the gold nanoparticles are especially interesting for the construction of components on the nanoscale. Japanese scientists have now shown that crystals of organic compounds are the ideal partner for such gold composite materials. Gold nanoparticles do not colonize all the surfaces of the organic crystal evenly, they are choosy, and occupy only certain faces. The researchers working with Seiji Shinkai and Kazuki Sada employ millimeter-sized single crystals of the amino acid L-cystine. A single crystal is composed of a single, uniform crystal lattice. Cystine crystallizes in the form of hexagonal prisms. Such a crystal has two parallel hexagonal surfaces the edges of which are linked together by six rectangular faces. If the transparent crystal is immersed for two hours in a solution of gold nanoparticles it becomes purple. Under the microscope it can be seen that only the two hexagonal faces are purple. The sides, that is, the rectangular faces remain colorless. The purple coloration arises from deposited gold nanoparticles. Clearly the tiny gold particles are choosy and populate exclusively the hexagonal faces of the prism.
Why? The cystine molecules are arranged in layers in the crystal, these layers are parallel to the hexagonal faces. The layers are held together by a two-dimensional network of hydrogen bonds that run between the amino and the acid groups of the amino acid. These polar groups lie on the surface of the two hexagonal faces and attract the gold particles by electrostatic interactions. The rectangular faces, however, are made up of alternating layers of polar and nonpolar groups. The density of attractive polar groups here is too low to draw the gold particles onto these faces.
The face-selective coverage also works with microscale crystals. The gold coating could be used, for example, to selectively bind other materials. Through the attractive and repulsive forces between coated and uncoated faces of the crystals it should be possible to make the crystals stack in a direction-dependent manner and so form defined aggregate structures in a targeted fashion.
Author: Kazuki Sada, Kyushu University, Fukuoka (Japan), http://www.cstm.kyushu-u.ac.jp/shinkai/101/sada_H.htm
Title: Anisotropic Decoration of Gold Nanoparticles onto Specific Crystal Faces of Organic Single Crystals
Angewandte Chemie International Edition 2006, 45, No. 29, 4764–4767, doi: 10.1002/anie.200601470
Kazuki Sada | Angewandte Chemie
Zap! Graphene is bad news for bacteria
23.05.2017 | Rice University
Discovery of an alga's 'dictionary of genes' could lead to advances in biofuels, medicine
23.05.2017 | University of California - Los Angeles
An international team of physicists has monitored the scattering behaviour of electrons in a non-conducting material in real-time. Their insights could be beneficial for radiotherapy.
We can refer to electrons in non-conducting materials as ‘sluggish’. Typically, they remain fixed in a location, deep inside an atomic composite. It is hence...
Two-dimensional magnetic structures are regarded as a promising material for new types of data storage, since the magnetic properties of individual molecular building blocks can be investigated and modified. For the first time, researchers have now produced a wafer-thin ferrimagnet, in which molecules with different magnetic centers arrange themselves on a gold surface to form a checkerboard pattern. Scientists at the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel and the Paul Scherrer Institute published their findings in the journal Nature Communications.
Ferrimagnets are composed of two centers which are magnetized at different strengths and point in opposing directions. Two-dimensional, quasi-flat ferrimagnets...
An Australian-Chinese research team has created the world's thinnest hologram, paving the way towards the integration of 3D holography into everyday...
In the race to produce a quantum computer, a number of projects are seeking a way to create quantum bits -- or qubits -- that are stable, meaning they are not much affected by changes in their environment. This normally needs highly nonlinear non-dissipative elements capable of functioning at very low temperatures.
In pursuit of this goal, researchers at EPFL's Laboratory of Photonics and Quantum Measurements LPQM (STI/SB), have investigated a nonlinear graphene-based...
Dental plaque and the viscous brown slime in drainpipes are two familiar examples of bacterial biofilms. Removing such bacterial depositions from surfaces is...
23.05.2017 | Event News
22.05.2017 | Event News
17.05.2017 | Event News
23.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
23.05.2017 | Life Sciences
23.05.2017 | Medical Engineering