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Ambient synthesis of nanomaterials by in situ heterogeneous metal/ligand reactions

Chang, Boyce S.
Thomas, Brijith
Chen, Jiahao
Tevis, Ian D.
Karanja, Paul
Çınar, Simge
Venkatesh, Amrit
Rossini, Aaron J.
Thuo, Martin M.
Coordination polymers are ideal synthons in creating high aspect ratio nanostructures, however, conventional synthetic methods are often restricted to batch-wise and costly processes. Herein, we demonstrate a non-traditional, frugal approach to synthesize 1D coordination polymers by in situ etching of zerovalent metal particle precursors. This procedure is denoted as the heterogeneous metal/ligand reaction and was demonstrated on Group 13 metals as a proof of concept. Simple carboxylic acids supply the etchant protons and ligands for metal ions (conjugate base) in a 1 : 1 ratio. This scalable reaction produces a 1D polymer that assembles into high-aspect ratio 'nanobeams'. We demonstrate control over crystal structure and morphology by tuning the: (i) metal center, (ii) stoichiometry and (iii) structure of the ligands. This work presents a general scalable method for continuous, heat free and water-based coordination polymer synthesis.