Volume 109, 2013

Synthesis and applications of organic nanorods, nanowires and nanotubes


One-dimensional (1D) nanostructures, including nanorods, nanowires, nanotubes, etc., exhibit the quantum confinement effects in the other two dimensions. Nanomaterials with 1D coherence are more suitable for the construction of active nanodevices and interconnects rather than zero-dimensional (0D) amorphous nanoparticles. Inorganic 1D nanomaterials have been widely investigated and widely used as building blocks in many kinds of optoelectronic integrations, and it is very reasonable to assume that their organic counterparts can also play an important role in this field. During the past ten years, organic 1D nanomaterials constructed from small functional molecules have obtained more and more attention due to their unique optical and electronic properties as well as their potential applications in nanoscale devices. Their high structural tunability, reaction activity and processability provide great opportunities to miniaturized optoelectronic chips based on organic 1D nanostructures, since they are usually assembled from molecular units with weak intermolecular interactions, such as hydrogen bonds, π–π stacking and van der Waals force. These weak interactions allow for more facile and mild conditions in the fabrication of high quality organic 1D nanostructures rather than those in the construction of their inorganic counterparts. More importantly, very recent studies reveal that the diversity of energy/electron transfer processes in organic semiconductors brings new hopes to break the performance limitations of traditional photonic and electronic devices, thus allowing higher luminescence intensity, more efficient photon confinement, stronger exciton–photon coupling, and so on. Indeed, organic 1D nanomaterials have already emerged to play increasingly an important role in many optoelectronic applications, such as nanolasers, optical waveguides, light-emitting devices, solar cells and sensors. In the past two decades, people have not only witnessed but also taken for granted the rapid development of nanomaterial science, and here we would like to promote awareness of the significance of organic 1D nanomaterials in the field of nanotechnology and optoelectronic nanodevices. This report presents a comprehensive review about recent research in the preparation and applications of 1D nanomaterials from functional low-molecular-weight organic compounds, whose optical and electronic properties are fundamentally different from those of their inorganic counterparts. Here we try to summarize the important breakthroughs from the fabrication of organic nanorods, nanowires and nanotubes, to the application of these nanostructures in integrated photonic elements and optoelectronic nanodevices. We begin with a general summary of the construction strategies (liquid-phase assembly, vapor deposition and template methods) for achieving 1D nanostructures from small organic functional molecules, then provide an overview of the unique optoelectronic properties induced by molecular aggregation in the nanostructures. Special emphasis is put on the luminescent properties of low dimensional sizes that are different from those of the corresponding bulk materials. This offers the materials better photon confinement ability or charge carrier transport property, and hence better optoelectronic performances such as optical waveguiding, multicolor emission, low-threshold nanolasers, light-emitting devices, photon-detecting devices, etc., which are presented one by one in the following section. In the last part of this report, we conclude with our personal viewpoints of the future development of organic 1D nanomaterials and also their great potentials in highly integrated photonic and electronic devices and chips.

Article information

Article type
Review Article
First published
23 Apr 2013

Annu. Rep. Prog. Chem., Sect. C: Phys. Chem., 2013,109, 211-239

Synthesis and applications of organic nanorods, nanowires and nanotubes

C. Zhang, Y. Yan, Y. Sheng Zhao and J. Yao, Annu. Rep. Prog. Chem., Sect. C: Phys. Chem., 2013, 109, 211 DOI: 10.1039/C3PC90002A

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