Nanorings and rods interconnected by self-assembly mimicking an artificial network of neurons

MV Escarcega-Bobadilla and GA Zelada-Guillen and SV Pyrlin and M Wegrzyn and MMD Ramos and E Gimenez and A Stewart and G Maier and AW Kleij, NATURE COMMUNICATIONS, 4, 2648 (2013).

DOI: 10.1038/ncomms3648

Molecular electronics based on structures ordered as neural networks emerges as the next evolutionary milestone in the construction of nanodevices with unprecedented applications. However, the straightforward formation of geometrically defined and interconnected nanostructures is crucial for the production of electronic circuitry nanoequivalents. Here we report on the molecularly fine-tuned self- assembly of tetrakis-Schiff base compounds into nanosized rings interconnected by unusually large nanorods providing a set of connections that mimic a biological network of neurons. The networks are produced through self-assembly resulting from the molecular conformation and noncovalent intermolecular interactions. These features can be easily generated on flat surfaces and in a polymeric matrix by casting from solution under ambient conditions. The structures can be used to guide the position of electron-transporting agents such as carbon nanotubes on a surface or in a polymer matrix to create electrically conducting networks that can find direct use in constructing nanoelectronic circuits.

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