A croconate-directed supramolecular self-healable Cd(ii)-metallogel with dispersed 2D-nanosheets of hexagonal boron nitride: a comparative outcome of the charge-transport phenomena and non-linear rectifying behaviour of semiconducting diodes†
The use of croconic acid disodium salt (CADS) as an organic gelator with Cd(II) salt to obtain an efficient soft-scaffold supramolecular self-healable metallogel (Cd-CADS) in N,N-dimethyl formamide (DMF) media was investigated following an ultrasonication technique. The experimentally scrutinized rheological values of the fabricated metallogel not only revealed the visco-elastic property and mechanical stiffness, but also exposed the self-healable behaviour of the gel material. Two-dimensional (2D) nanosheets of hexagonal boron nitride (h-BN) were incorporated within the gel network to obtain a 2D nanosheet dispersed metallogel of Cd(II) croconate (h-BN@Cd-CADS). The microstructural investigations of the original gel network and hexagonal boron nitride (h-BN) 2D nanosheet dispersed gel-network were performed through field emission scanning electron microscopy (FESEM) and established the interconnecting rod-like fibrous type morphological patterns and inter-connected hexagonal type rod-shaped architecture pattern, respectively. High resolution transmission electron microscopy (HRTEM) was used to visualize the morphological distinction of the Cd-CADS metallogel with the h-BN 2D nanosheets. The infrared spectral (FT-IR) outputs helped to identify the formation pathway to construct the semi-solid self-healing flexible metallogel and h-BN 2D nanosheet dispersed metallogel nanocomposite, respectively. Fascinating electronic-charge transportation was revealed in the as-fabricated Cd-CADS and h-BN@Cd-CADS metallogel-based devices. Furthermore, h-BN 2D-nanosheet-directed modulation of the non-linear rectifying feature of the supramolecular Cd-CADS-metallogel was observed, with the h-BN@Cd-CADS metallogel showing a greater rectifying property, implying that it has a higher conductivity compared to the Cd-CADS metallogel.