3D to 2D reorganization of silver–thiol nanostructures, triggered by solvent vapor annealing†
Metal–organic composites are of great interest for a wide range of applications. The control of their structure remains a challenge, one of the problems being a complex interplay of covalent and supramolecular interactions. This paper describes the self-assembly, thermal stability and phase transitions of ordered structures of silver atoms and thiol molecules spanning from the molecular to the mesoscopic scale. Building blocks of molecularly defined clusters formed from 44 silver atoms, each particle coated by a monolayer of 30 thiol ligands, are used as ideal building blocks. By changing solvent and temperature it is possible to tune the self-assembled 3D crystals of pristine nanoparticles or, conversely, 2D layered structures, with alternated stacks of Ag atoms and thiol monolayers. The study investigates morphological, chemical and structural stability of these materials between 25 and 300 °C in situ and ex situ at the nanoscale by combining optical and electronic spectroscopic and scattering techniques, scanning probe microscopies and density-functional theory (DFT) calculations. The proposed wet-chemistry approach is relatively cheap, easy to implement, and scalable, allowing the fabricated materials with tuned properties using the same building blocks.
- This article is part of the themed collection: Recent Open Access Articles