Since their discovery carbon nanotubes have generated huge interest due to their one-dimensional nature and their unique physical properties. However, a number of serious obstacles stand in the way of using them as useful functional nanomaterials. They are in fact poorly dispersable in common solvents and generally produced in a wide range of electronic types, with separation by type proving difficult. In view of these issues attention is now moving towards inorganic alternatives. In this context nanowires made up of molybdenum, sulfur and iodine (MoSI) and WS2 nanotubes have been shown to be within the most promising. Easy fabrication readily scaled up for a range of compounds, uniformity in diameters and electronic type and functional properties very similar to carbon nanotubes are among their most important qualities. However, being new class of materials, they are yet to be extensively studied. A complete understanding indeed is crucially required for further exploitation in the numerous technological applications they have been proposed for. The project aims to address crucial problems such as dispersability, processability and manipulation of these objects. Finding the optimal dispersion conditions will powerfully bring these materials on the technological and applicative scene. Once unlocked the solution processing issues other innovative and intriguing aspects will be covered, using the most advanced electron microscopy technologies to intimately understand the role of punctual structural defects in the ultimate physical properties of the materials. Correlation between physical properties and structural modifications will be for the first time established. The success of this proposal will give an important and unique contribute to the field, leading to technological innovations, community relevance and to a significant launch of the researcher, Dr. V. Nicolosi, in her first appointment in an advanced career at interdisciplinary level.
Fields of science
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