Bottom-up solution synthesis of graphene nanoribbons with precisely engineered nanopores

Nanopores in Graphene nanoribbons (GNRs)

June 21, 2023

Bottom-up chemical synthesis of graphene nanoribbons (GNRs) has attracted enormous attention from the scientific community in the last decade, providing various atomically precise GNR structures with tunable physicochemical properties. Besides the width and edge structure control, the introduction of well-defined nanopores into GNRs has been recently recognized as an important parameter to finely tune their electronic structures, topologies, opto-electronic and thermoelectric transport properties. However, the precise synthesis of porous GNR (pGNR) with uniform nanopores is still in its infancy especially in solution due to the lack of efficient synthetic strategies and suitable precursor design.

The scientists from MPI Halle and TU Dresden, together with collaborators, have demonstrated the first successful bottom-up solution synthesis of fully conjugated pGNR containing periodic well-defined nanopores. The key design here is making the tailor-made polyphenylene precursor with pre-installed hexagonal nanopores, which allows us to access the pGNR with intact conjugation and precisely embedded nanopores with a diameter of 0.6 nm and an adjacent-pore-distance of 1.7 nm. DFT simulation suggests that the nanopores in pGNR can effectively modulate its electronic structure and energy levels distribution without interrupting the conjugation of the ribbon. This study paves the way for the solution synthesis of porous GNRs with defined nanopores, tunable bandgaps, and liquid-phase processability, enabling their potential applications in sensing and thermoelectric devices. This fruitful work of the joint research has been now published in the renowned journal “Angewandte Chemie International Edition”.


This research was financially supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (22225501 and 52203268), the EU Graphene Flagship (Graphene Core 3, 881603), H2020-MSCA-ITN (ULTIMATE, No. 813036), the Center for Advancing Electronics Dresden (cfaed), H2020-EU.1.2.2.- FET Proactive Grant (LIGHT-CAP, 101017821), the DFG-SNSF Joint Switzerland-German Research Project (EnhanTopo, No. 429265950), the Strategic Priority Research Program of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (Grant Nos. XDB33000000 and XDB33030300), and the DFG funded Cluster of Excellence “Matters of Activity” (No. 390648296).


Niu, Wenhui, Fu, Yubin, Serra, Gianluca, Liu, Kun, Droste, Jörn, Lee, Yeonju, Ling, Zhitian, Xu, Fugui, González, José D. Cojal, Lucotti, Andrea, Rabe, Jürgen P., Hansen, Michael Ryan, Pisula, Wojciech, Blom, Paul W. M., Palma, Carlos-Andres, Tommasini, Matteo, Mai, Yiyong, Ma, Ji, Feng, Xinliang, Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2023, e202305737.

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