Scientists from Japan have noticed unique reactions in the interaction of water, oil and air. They used them to create nanosheets, which are needed for new generation sensors and energy production technologies. The research is published in the journal ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces.

Scientists have created microporous organometallic frameworks (MOFs), which are composed of metal ions and organic binders. These materials have formed three-dimensional nanostructures that conduct electricity. The researchers used the same conditions that are typical for the formation of oil slick on water.

To use the properties of MOF in energy and sensor technologies, scientists have changed the approach to creating these scaffolds. Researchers applied a solution with organic linkers (building blocks or ligaments containing metal cations – “Hi-tech”) on an aqueous solution of metal ions. After contact, the substances combined into a hexagonal structure. Nanostructures were formed at the contact points of liquid and air. Scientists have compressed the nanosheets to give them a denser and more unbreakable structure.

The researchers tested the nanostructures using microscopic and X-ray crystallographic analysis. The densely arranged crystals indicated not only strong contact between the sheets, but also the electrical properties of the material. The researchers transferred the nanosheets to a silicon substrate, added gold electrodes, and measured the electrical conductivity.

Scientists are now studying how different parameters affect leaf morphology. Their goal is to develop a technique for creating high-quality nanosheets with desired electronic properties.