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Nanoparticle Ribbons and Weaves

Alfred J. Crosby Polymer Science & Engineering Department, University of Massachusetts Amherst

Nanowires, or 1D nanoscale wires, offer several potential advantages, including enhanced electronic properties and mechanical flexibility. Here, we discuss recent efforts to fabricate nanowire structures that are comprised of individual nanoparticle components. The assemblies have lengths up to several centimeters in length, yet the nanoscale properties are still maintained. We fabricate these structures using an evaporative assembly process that is highly confined geometrically and where the three-phase contact line is actuated externally. With these constraints, we are able to create well-ordered structures, such as stripes with single nanoparticle thickness, widths of less than 250nm, and lengths of several centimeters. Taking advantage of polymer ligand chemistry on the nanoparticle surface, we covalently link neighboring particles to create robust nanoparticle ribbons, as well as other structures, which can be transferred to polymer melts and liquid environments. These structures, which are nearly 70% inorganic, exhibit extreme flexibility, combined with uncompromised optoelectronic properties. We will discuss measurements on the electronic and mechanical properties of these assemblies, and early demonstrations of unique capabilities provided by these nanocomposites. We envision these novel materials impacting applications ranging from flexible electronics to photovoltaics. Overall, the stories shared in this presentation will provide insight into how we think as a group and learn from Nature, without losing focus on the importance of fundamental materials principles and engineering design.