Nanoclusters and Nanostructured Materials:
Stefan T. Bromley
Nanoclusters constitute an intermediate state of matter between molecules and solids. Nanocluster sizes range from sub-nanometer to about 10 nanometres in diameter and are of technological interest in numerous areas of applied science (e.g. materials science, catalysis, (opto)electronics). Often one differentiates between: (i) nanoclusters consisting of up to a couple of hundred atoms, and (ii) larger aggregates containing 103 or more atoms which are more often called nanoparticles. The properties of nanoparticles gradually approach those of bulk materials or extended surfaces, i.e. are scalable with size. Nanoclusters, however, have properties and structures which are very sensitive to their composition and size (i.e. “every atom counts”) which can lead to new and interesting properties not realised in the corresponding bulk material.
Low energy (SiO2)N nanocluster structure changes with increasing size
The goal of our research is to determine the properties of nanoclusters of technologically important inorganic bulk materials (e.g. ZnO, SiO2 , CdS), and nanostructures and materials formed by their assembly through use of a variety of theoretical approaches (e.g. Global optimisation, Molecular dynamics) using both classical and electronic structure methods. We are particularly interested in the non-bulk-like properties of nanoclusters and how they thus may provide the inspiration for novel low density (nanostructured) materials for uniquely tailored applications.
Selected group publications from the last 5 years:
1. Prospective Role of Multicenter Bonding for Efficient and Selective Hydrogen Transport, D. Stradi, F. Illas, S. T. Bromley, Phys. Rev. Lett. (2010) 105, 045901.
2. Apparent Scarcity of Low Density Inorganic Materials, M. A. Zwijnenburg, F. Illas, S. T. Bromley, Phys. Rev. Lett. (2010) 104, 175503.
3. Persistence of Magic Cluster Stability in Ultra-thin Semiconductor Nanorods, W. Sangthong, J. Limtrakul, F. Illas, S. T. Bromley, Nanoscale (2010) 1,72.
4. Low Reactivity of Non-bridging Oxygen Defects on Stoichiometric Silica Surfaces, S. Hamad, S. T. Bromley, Chem. Commun. (2008) 4156.
5. Ultralow-Density Nanocage-Based Metal-Oxide Polymorphs, J. Carrasco, F. Illas, S. T. Bromley, Phys. Rev. Lett. (2007) 99, 235502.