This research project focuses on the rational design and characterization of multifunctional materials, using cyanide- and/or oxamato-bearing complexes as starting materials. These discrete building blocks containing paramagnetic metal centres, which will be able to self-assemble through metal-ligand interactions in a predictable way, will be designed and synthesised. Taking advantage of their great versatility and flexibility in the context of coordination chemistry, we can incorporate different properties (chirality, redox- and/or photosensitivity) in the starting precursors or in the final material. However, while molecule-based materials can combine physical and chemical properties associated with the molecular building blocks, their successful integration into devices depends primarily on higher-order properties, like crystal size, shape, morphology and organization. A challenge in this area it is to develop approaches where interfaces can play both the role of space confining reaction media and facile tuning, and coupling and optimization of the functionalities of the materials. In this project, we will use a simple synthetic strategy to prepare new nanocomposite materials that involves the heterogeneous chemical aggregation of preformed polynuclear building blocks, through the use of ordered mesoporous silica as host matrix and clay minerals as structure-directing interfaces.
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