Seminaria Instytutowe

Dissolving ions and molecules in solids, or what can we do employing molecular engineering

by Prof. Łukasz Laskowski (IFJ PAN)





Within a framework of this presentation, the audience will be guided through the methods of molecular engineering. The key to the bottom-up approach for molecular engineering is to design synthesis in such a way that atoms create assumed molecular structure by themselves through the self-organization process. This concept can be applied to operate a position of individual atoms and molecules, preserving assumed distribution of the building blocks (atoms) and control distance between them. Then, we can observe them as separate objects, investigate the interaction between them as a function of intermolecular distance and utilize the properties of individual molecules, which often differs tremendously from their bulk characteristics.

All this above sounds promising but how to achieve this in practice? Let us imagine a solid material with regularly distributed anchoring units separated by a specific distance, which can catch particular atoms or molecules and keep them separated. One association which comes to mind is some kind of a solvent since the last one is able to coordinate the molecules in such a way that they are separated and to create a solvation complex. In the case of a liquid, nevertheless, dissolved molecules are difficult to investigate since they are not immobilized. The compound we are searching for should have such a form that allows for rigid immobilization of nano-objects. This way the objects could be used for specific purposes at specific time and place. It should be some kind of a „solid solvent”.

In this lecture, the concept of 2D solid solvent will be presented. Such materials can be fabricated based on functionalized nanostructured materials, such as silica or alumina. A few examples of functional materials being in fact 2D solid solvents will be shown, along with an explanation of their structure, functionality, description the fabrication route and justification the purposefulness of their production. Also, the role of molecular engineering in the fabrication process will be clarified here.