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Our interdisciplinary team focuses on understanding of the chemistry and physics of solids in the bulk, at the nanoscale, and down to the atomic level.  We, therefore, seek to leverage the chemical and molecular control over atomic-level and nanoscale morphological dimensionalities in realizing confined electronic, optical, and quantum properties.
We will harness these nascent and emergent properties to enable next-generation optoelectronics, quantum devices, sensors, and energy conversion platforms.

Our vision is to take advantage of these tools and create classes of materials that exhibit nanoscale confinement in bulk or macroscale constructs
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Atomically-precise van der Waals lattices across dimensions

The ability to precisely peel apart weakly-bound building units from a bulk lattice has revolutionized our perception towards the creation of ultra-small and stable solids. The conception of such structures, most notably in graphene and related 2D lattices, has ultimately opened the doors towards the realization of exotic quantum and physical phenomena that transcended disciplines. In the Maxx X Lab, we will explore the chemistry and physics of emergent low-dimensional van der Waals lattices in and beyond 2D—in 1D and 0D. We will probe how crystal structures and dimensionalities influence the behavior of charges, spins, and vibrations in these lattices as they evolve from the bulk down to the nanoscale.

Representative publication:

Anisotropy-Driven Crystallization of Dimensionally Resolved Quasi-1D van der Waals Nanostructures

D. L. M. Cordova, K. Chua, R. M. Huynh, T. Aoki, M. Q. Arguilla

ChemRxiv. Cambridge: Cambridge Open Engage; 2023; DOI: 10.26434/chemrxiv-2023-mw9cf 

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Solid state chemistry in confined spaces

Limiting solid state lattices below the dimensions of electronic, photonic, and magnetic coherence lengths, has facilitated the discovery of a plethora of novel physical properties and technological applications which would not have been attainable in the bulk. We will challenge the frontiers of dimensional reduction and nanoscale structuring, down to the sub-nanometer regime, by forging the chemistry of solid state structures in confined spaces. The platforms that we will develop will allow us to understand not only the growth and structure of such confined structures but also the underlying physics that govern the properties of these structures upon extreme confinement. Ultimately, we envision to harness the nascent properties of these structures towards energy conversion and photonic applications.

Representative publication:

Single Quasi-1D Chains of Sb2Se3 Encapsulated Within Carbon Nanotubes

G. M. Milligan, D. L. M. Cordova, Z. Yao, B. Tong, M. Q. Arguilla

ChemRxiv. Cambridge: Cambridge Open Engage; 2023; DOI: 10.26434/chemrxiv-2023-4w336

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Low-Dimensional Nanostructures in Hybrid Organic-Inorganic Assemblies

The assembly of organic-linked inorganic molecular units into ordered frameworks opened up a gamut of possibilities in creating materials that amalgamate the advantages of both a molecule and an extended lattice. This intersection between molecular and solid state chemistry has made possible the discovery of new frameworks which, owing to their intrinsic porosities, have been demonstrated to be excellent platforms for a myriad of applications such as in gas storage, renewable energy harnessing, and catalysis. We seek to expand this concept by using low-dimensional inorganic extended lattices as building blocks to create assemblies that combine the highly anisotropic and delocalized charges and spins from the inorganic component with the functionality imparted by the organic linkers. Such class of materials will enable the understanding of phase changes and modulations in these hybrid structures and the realization of next-generation sensing and spintronic platforms.

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