This literature discussion was created at the NSF-TUES sponsored workshop at Penn State, June 2013. It is based on the article from Ray Schaak’s group (Buck, Matthew R.; Bondi, James F.; Schaak, Raymond E. “A total-synthesis framework for the construction of high-order colloidal hybrid nanoparticles” Nature Chemistry, 2012 4, 37-44, DOI: 10.1038/NCHEM.1195), which Ray presented at the workshop.
The article draws an analogy between traditional organic synthetic strategies and hybrid nanoparticle synthesis. It is a good introduction to experimental design, nanoparticle synthesis, and common solid state characterization techniques.
After reading and discussing the paper, the student should be able to:
- Draw a reaction scheme of the nanoparticle synthesis, describe the oxidation states of key reactants, and explain the role of oleylamine
- Apply theory and concepts (HSAB, intermolecular forces, etc.) to explain aspects of the synthesis
- Describe and contrast the kind of information provided by each characterization technique used, with a detailed examination of XPS and XRD data
- Articulate the broader significance of the total-synthesis approach for colloidal nanoparticle
There are a variety of ways that the literature discussion can be carried out. Students should be given the article along with the guiding questions ahead of time to prepare for class. Instructors can choose a smaller selection of the provided questions for a shorter discussion, or divide sets of questions among groups of students. To show the students the impact of the paper, the class could look up how many times the article has been cited. (For example, the article was cited 37 times in the first 18 months after publication.)