Reshef Tenne

Weizmann Institute of Science

Inorganic nanotubes and fullerene-like nanoparticles at the crossroad between materials science and nanotechnology and their applications

After almost 100 years of research inorganic layered (2D) materials, like MoS2, are currently used as catalysts, lubricants, and perhaps most importantly in rechargeable Li- ion batteries. After a short briefing on the history of 2D materials research,1 the concepts which led to the first synthesis of hollow-cage nanostructures, including nanotubes (INT) and fullerene-like (IF) nanoparticles from 2D compounds, will be presented. The progress with the high-temperature synthesis and characterization of new inorganic nanotubes (INT) and fullerene-like (IF) nanoparticles (NP) will be presented. In particular, the synthesis and structure of nanotubes from the ternary and more recently quaternary “misfit” layered compounds (MLC), like LnS-TaS2 (Ln= La, Ce, Gd, etc), CaCoO-CoO2 and numerous other MLC were elucidated.

Major progress has been achieved in elucidating the structure of INT and IF using advanced microscopy techniques, like aberration corrected TEM and related techniques. Mechanical, electrical and optical measurements of individual WS2 nanotubes reveal their unique quasi-1D characteristics. This analyses demonstrate their different behavior compared to the bulk phase. Applications of the IF/INT as superior solid lubricants and reinforcing variety of polymers and light metal alloys was demonstrated. Few recent studies indicate that this brand of nanoparticles is less toxic than most nanoparticles. With expanding product lines, manufacturing and sales, these nanomaterials are gradually becoming an industrial commodity.

  1. L. Panchakarla, B. Visic and R. Tenne, “Perspective”, J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2017, 139, 12865-12878.