Research Discovered New Molecular Structures in Boron-Based Nanoclusters

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Research discovered new molecular structures in boron-based nanoclusters, according to a report published on July 12, 2018.

This study was conducted by the researchers at the Brown University. They discovered magnetic properties in nanoclusters having highly stable and symmetric structures and made from boron and lanthanide elements. As per the results of the study, these nanoclusters could be used as molecular magnets or can be assembled into magnetic nanowires.

On studying the nanoclusters, they discovered the inverse sandwich structure of these nanoclusters with the right combination of boron and lanthanide atoms. Inverse sandwich structures are usually found in uranium-organic molecular complexes, however, for the first time, it has been observed in boron lanthanides.

A technique known as photoelectron spectroscopy was used by the researchers to study nanoclusters that were made of different chemical elements. In the technique, zapping of atomic clusters with a high-powered laser is involved, where one electron is knocked out of the cluster in each zap. By measuring the kinetic energy of those freed electrons, researchers will be able to understand how the atoms in a cluster are bound together and infer the cluster’s physical structure.

It was found that clusters made of eight boron and two lanthanide atoms are highly symmetric as inferred from their simple spectral patterns. Lai-Sheng Wang, a professor of chemistry at Brown, said, “It gives us a new way of understanding the bonding and structure of boride materials. By studying small units, we can gain insight into the bulk system, and I think we have gained some of that insight here.”

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