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Nat Mater. 2008 Sep;7(9):718-22. doi: 10.1038/nmat2232. Epub 2008 Jul 20.

Water-soluble organo-silica hybrid nanowires.


There has been growing interest in the past decade in one-dimensional (1D) nanostructures, such as nanowires, nanotubes or nanorods, owing to their size-dependent optical and electronic properties and their potential application as building blocks, interconnects and functional components for assembling nanodevices. Significant progress has been made; however, the strict control of the distinctive geometry at extremely small size for 1D structures remains a great challenge in this field. The anisotropic nature of cylindrical polymer brushes has been applied to template 1D nanostructured materials, such as metal, semiconductor or magnetic nanowires. Here, by constructing the cylindrical polymer brushes themselves with a precursor-containing monomer, we successfully synthesized hybrid nanowires with a silsesquioxane core and a shell made up from oligo(ethylene glycol) methacrylate units, which are soluble in water and many organic solvents. The length and diameter of these rigid wires are tunable by the degrees of polymerization of both the backbone and the side chain. They show lyotropic liquid-crystalline behaviour and can be pyrolysed to silica nanowires. This approach provides a route to the controlled fabrication of inorganic or hybrid silica nanostructures by living polymerization techniques.


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