Non-Covalent Assembly of Functional Nanostructures

Lead Research Organisation: University of Nottingham
Department Name: Sch of Chemistry


This is an application for a European Young Investigator Award for Andrei Khlobystov (AK). Recently the importance of nanostructures such as quantum dots and endohedral fullerenes for various applications (such as high speed electronics, stable memory elements) has been recognised. Much effort has been placed on learning about properties of isolated nanostructures, but the development and understanding of ordered arrays of these materials has just begun to be explored. The central aim of this application is to develop a technology for assembling functional networks of magnetically and/or optically active centres whose quantum states can interact with each other over distances exceeding molecular dimensions. I propose to connect active nano-objects via conducting nanowires through applying coordination and supramolecular chemistry at the nanoscale. There are three major challenges in fabrication of such nanostructures: (1) chemical functionalisation of nanoscopic building blocks for networks, (2) positional and orientational control of nano-objects on the surface, and (3) fine tuning of electronic properties of nanowires mediating interactions in networks. These challenges will be addressed by utilising the versatile coordination and supramolecular chemistry, photo- or electrochemistry on the nanoscale. The new materials are expected to exhibit a range of unusual and testable magnetic, optical and catalytic properties. The metal-directed supramolecular assembly of nanoparticles and nanowires will be used for controlling their alignment. The highly directional coordination interactions between metal functionalised nanoscopic building blocks will allow construction of polymeric architectures with desired topology and geometry. This novel interdisciplinary approach will advance the understanding of fundamental aspects of self-assembly on the nanoscale, and will produce new materials that are commercially useful for applications, such as memory elements, quantum computing, molecular sensors, or optoelectronic devices.


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Description EURYI Award enabled me to pioneer the supramolecular chemistry of carbon nanomaterials and advance the imaging of individual organic and organometallic molecules/clusters by electron microscopy. I have developed approaches for construction of nanoscopic heterostrucutres of nanotubes with a wide range of materials, utilising carbon nanostructures as platforms for bridging the molecular world with the macroscopic world.

I have unraveled mechanisms of interactions between carbon nanostructures
Exploitation Route My findings are important for advancement of structural characterisation of individual molecules and nanostructures, and linking the molecular world with the macro world via the 1D nanostructures, such as nanotubes.
Sectors Chemicals,Electronics,Energy

Description European Research Council Consolidator Award
Amount € 1,446,100 (EUR)
Organisation European Research Council (ERC) 
Sector Public
Country Belgium
Start 12/2011 
End 11/2016
Description Marie Curie Fellowship for incoming researcher
Amount £144,300 (GBP)
Organisation Marie Sklodowska-Curie Actions 
Sector Charity/Non Profit
Country Global
Start 01/2009 
End 12/2010
Description Quantum Information Processing Interdisciplinary Centre
Amount £102,600 (GBP)
Organisation University of Oxford 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 03/2008 
End 11/2009
Description Royal Society Equipment Grant
Amount £137,000 (GBP)
Organisation The Royal Society 
Sector Charity/Non Profit
Country United Kingdom
Start 10/2012 
End 09/2014
Description Nanyang Technological University, Singapore - Dr. Lain-Jong Li 
Organisation Nanyang Technological University
Country Singapore 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Optically transparent, electrically conducting thin films of carbon nanotubes and nanocomposites; support with structural characterization by TEM
Collaborator Contribution Device fabrication and characterization of functional optoelectronic properties
Impact several high-profile publications (including Nature group journals).
Start Year 2007
Description University of Ulm - Prof. Ute Kaiser 
Organisation University of Ulm
Country Germany 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution I provide nanomaterials for advanced electron microscopy experiments in Ulm.
Collaborator Contribution Collaborators in Ulm University (Germany) enable access to cutting-edge electron microscopy facilities essential for my work.
Impact Several high-profile publications (including 3 Nature group articles), co-supervision of PhD students.
Start Year 2007
Description British Association Festival of Science (Liverpool) 'Wonder in Carbon Land' 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact Popular science exhibition to inspire school pupils to study STEM subjects with emphasis on chemistry of nano-carbons

Increased levels of interest from general public and schools (6 school visits followed the exhibition).
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2008
Description Exhibition in the Nottingham Contemporary Gallery, 'Wonder in Carbon Land' 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact hands-on activities and interactive displays promoting chemistry and nanotechnology

high level of public interest
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2011
Description International Summer School on Frontiers of Science & Technology of Carbon Nanostructures, (Krutyn, Poland) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact International summer school for young researchers (PhD students and postdocs) to improve understanding of the cutting edge science and technology of carbon materials.

New collaborations, intellectually enriching experience for young researchers from different EU countries.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2012
Description Royal Society Summer Science Exhibition'Wonder in Carbon Land' 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Over 5000 visitors attended the exhibition, including politicians and media

Increased interest in chemistry and technology of nano-carbon from general public, UCAS candidates, research students, media,
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2008