Inorganic Nanowire Follows the Crystal Structure of Its Graphene Template
Fig 4: Fabrication of crystallographically aligned nanostructures. [From W.C. Lee, K. Kim, J. Park, J. Koo, H.Y. Jeong, H. Lee, D.A. Weitz, A. Zettl & S. Takeuchi, "Graphene-templated directional growth of an inorganic nanowire," Nature Nanotechnology (2015) doi:10.1038/nnano.2015.36
Assembling inorganic nanomaterials on graphene is of interest in the development of nanodevices and nanocomposite materials, and the ability to align such inorganic nanomaterials on the graphene surface is expected to lead to improved functionalities, as has previously been demonstrated with organic nanomaterials epitaxially aligned on graphitic surfaces. However, because graphene is chemically inert, it is difficult to precisely assemble inorganic nanomaterials on pristine graphene. Previous techniques based on dangling bonds of damaged graphene, intermediate seed materials and vapour-phase deposition at high temperature have only formed randomly oriented or poorly aligned inorganic nanostructures.
A team of researchers from the University of Tokyo, the Japan Science and Technology Agency, the University of California at Berkeley, the Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology, Harvard University (including Prof. David Weitz), Konkuk University, and the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory have discovered that gold(I) cyanide (AuCN) nanowires will assemble on pristine graphene under mild conditions. They determined that these nanowires spontaneously align with graphene's zigzag lattice, allowing for studies on graphene's structural nature as well as for the controlled design of inorganic nanostructures.