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Letters to Nature
Nature 380, 325 - 328 (28 March 1996); doi:10.1038/380325a0

Semiconducting superlattices templated by molecular assemblies

Paul V. Braun*, Paul Osenar* & Samuel I. Stupp*

Departments of * Materials Science and Engineering and Chemistry, and Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology and Materials Research Laboratory, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, Illinois 61801, USA
To whom correspondence should be addressed.

ORGANIC-INORGANIC nanostructured composites provide a rich source of new materials1–14 for a host of technological applications. For example, the incorporation of organic molecules in an inorganic lattice can toughen an otherwise brittle material15–17, or be used to tailor its electronic properties14, and cooperative interactions between organic and inorganic molecules are being used to generate a range of porous materials for separation and catalytic technologies4–10. Here we describe the growth of stable semiconductor–organic superlattices based on cadmium sulphide and cadmium selenide. The template for the structures is provided by a liquid-crystalline phase formed from non-ionic organic amphiphiles, water and precursor ions for the inorganic semiconductor. Precipitation of the organic–inorganic solid takes place within the ordered environment of the mesophase, and both the symmetry and long-range order of the liquid crystal are preserved. We anticipate that materials of this type can be tailored, through the electronic properties of the organic amphiphiles, for photosynthetic and photocatalytic applications.

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