Nanomaterial Synthesis: Novel Approaches in Solution

High temperature (T > 1000 °C) solid state synthesis usually leads to thermodynamically stable states, with the formation of bulk stable polymorphs. When the question arises of how to obtain metastable nanostructured compounds, with high surface area and / or organic moities (hybrid structures), it turns out that lower T is needed. This can be achieved by using a so-called
molecular approach which is based on the condensation of molecular precursors dissolved into a suitable solvent. While chimie douce exemplifies the concept for nano-oxides, novel processes have to be developed for hybrid metal oxides as well as non-oxide nanoparticles.

Our group develops new solution processes for the design of nanostructured compounds with two main axes:

1. The synthesis of novel hybrid oxide nanomaterials is performed by using organic solvents which act as reactants. A tremendous variety of new structures and assemblies are therefore conceivable, with properties originating from both the organic moiety and the inorganic part.

2. Solution procedures are developed in order to design nanostructures of usual high temperature materials. For instance, non conventional solution routes pave the way toward nanoparticles of
metal borides with novel properties, especially for catalysis, optics, and energy harnessing.

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