Goethe University chemists have managed to synthesise a compound featuring an Si20 dodecahedron. The Platonic solid, which was published in the "Angewandte Chemie" journal, is not just aesthetically pleasing, it also opens up new perspectives for the semiconductor industry.
The discovery of the soccer ball-shaped C60 molecule in 1985 was a milestone for the development of nanotechnology. In parallel with the fast-blooming field of research into carbon fullerenes, researchers have spent a long time trying in vain to create structurally similar silicon cages.
Goethe University chemists have now managed to synthesise a compound featuring an Si20 dodecahedron. The Platonic solid, which was published in the "Angewandte Chemie" journal, is not just aesthetically pleasing, it also opens up new perspectives for the semiconductor industry.
The Si20 dodecahedron is roughly as large as the C60 molecule. However, there are some crucial differences between the types of bonding: All of the carbon atoms in C60 have a coordination number of three and form double bonds. In the silicon dodecahedron, in contrast, all atoms have a coordination number of four and are connected through single bonds, so that the molecule is also related to dodecahedrane (C20H20).
"In its day, dodecahedrane was viewed as the 'Mount Everest' of organic chemistry, because it initially could only be synthesized through a 23- step sequence. In contrast, our Si20 cage can be created in one step starting from Si2 building blocks," explains Prof. Matthias Wagner of the Goethe University Institute of Inorganic and Analytical Chemistry.
The Si20 hollow bodies, which have been isolated by his PhD student, Jan Tillmann, are always filled with a chloride ion. The Frankfurt chemists therefore suppose that the cage forms itself around the anion, which thus has a structure-determining effect. On its surface, the cluster carries eight chlorine atoms and twelve Cl3Si groups.
These have highly symmetric arrangements in space, which is why the molecule is particularly beautiful. Quantum chemical calculations carried out by Professor Max C. Holthausen's research group at Goethe University show that the substitution pattern that was observed experimentally indeed produces a pronounced stabilisation of the Si20 structure.
In future, Tillmann and Wagner are planning to use the surface-bound Cl3Si anchor groups to produce three dimensional nanonetworks out of Si20 units. The researchers are particularly interested in the application potential of this new compound:
"Spatially strictly limited silicon nanoparticles display fundamentally different properties to conventional silicon wafers," explains Matthias Wagner. The long strived-for access to siladodecahedrane thus opens up the possibility of studying the fundamental electronic properties of cage-like Si nanoparticles compared to crystalline semiconductor silicon.
J. Tillmann et al: One-Step Synthesis of a Silafullerane with an Endohedral Chloride
Ion, in: Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2015, DOI: 10.1002/anie.201412050
Download an image from: http://www.muk.uni-frankfurt.de/54612947?
Information: Prof. Matthias Wagner, Institute for Anorganic and Analytic Chemistry, Campus Riedberg, phone: +49(069)798-29156, email: Matthias.Wagner@chemie.uni-frankfurt.de
Goethe University is a research-oriented university in the European financial centre Frankfurt Founded in 1914 with purely private funds by liberally-oriented Frankfurt citizens, it is dedicated to research and education under the motto "Science for Society" and to this day continues to function as a "citizens’ university". Many of the early benefactors were Jewish. Over the past 100 years, Goethe University has done pioneering work in the social and sociological sciences, chemistry, quantum physics, brain research and labour law. It gained a unique level of autonomy on 1 January 2008 by returning to its historic roots as a privately funded university. Today, it is among the top ten in external funding and among the top three largest universities in Germany, with three clusters of excellence in medicine, life sciences and the humanities.
Publisher The President of Goethe University, Marketing and Communications Department, 60629 Frankfurt am Main
Editor: Dr. Anke Sauter, Science Editor, International Communication, Tel: +49(0)69 798-12498, Fax +49(0)69 798-761 12531, email@example.com
Dr. Anke Sauter | idw - Informationsdienst Wissenschaft
Fish recognize their prey by electric colors
13.11.2018 | Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn
The dawn of a new era for genebanks - molecular characterisation of an entire genebank collection
13.11.2018 | Leibniz-Institut für Pflanzengenetik und Kulturpflanzenforschung
Biochips have been developed at TU Wien (Vienna), on which tissue can be produced and examined. This allows supplying the tissue with different substances in a very controlled way.
Cultivating human cells in the Petri dish is not a big challenge today. Producing artificial tissue, however, permeated by fine blood vessels, is a much more...
Faster and secure data communication: This is the goal of a new joint project involving physicists from the University of Würzburg. The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research funds the project with 14.8 million euro.
In our digital world data security and secure communication are becoming more and more important. Quantum communication is a promising approach to achieve...
On Saturday, 10 November 2018, the research icebreaker Polarstern will leave its homeport of Bremerhaven, bound for Cape Town, South Africa.
When choosing materials to make something, trade-offs need to be made between a host of properties, such as thickness, stiffness and weight. Depending on the application in question, finding just the right balance is the difference between success and failure
Now, a team of Penn Engineers has demonstrated a new material they call "nanocardboard," an ultrathin equivalent of corrugated paper cardboard. A square...
Physicists at ETH Zurich demonstrate how errors that occur during the manipulation of quantum system can be monitored and corrected on the fly
The field of quantum computation has seen tremendous progress in recent years. Bit by bit, quantum devices start to challenge conventional computers, at least...
09.11.2018 | Event News
06.11.2018 | Event News
23.10.2018 | Event News
13.11.2018 | Life Sciences
13.11.2018 | Life Sciences
13.11.2018 | Awards Funding