Designing novel Sn-Bi, Si-C and Ge-C nanostructures, using simple theoretical chemical similarities
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Nanoscale Research Letters 2011, 6:362 doi:10.1186/1556-276X-6-362Published: 27 April 2011
A framework of simple, transparent and powerful concepts is presented which is based on isoelectronic (or isovalent) principles, analogies, regularities and similarities. These analogies could be considered as conceptual extensions of the periodical table of the elements, assuming that two atoms or molecules having the same number of valence electrons would be expected to have similar or homologous properties. In addition, such similar moieties should be able, in principle, to replace each other in more complex structures and nanocomposites. This is only partly true and only occurs under certain conditions which are investigated and reviewed here. When successful, these concepts are very powerful and transparent, leading to a large variety of nanomaterials based on Si and other group 14 elements, similar to well known and well studied analogous materials based on boron and carbon. Such nanomaterias designed in silico include, among many others, Si-C, Sn-Bi, Si-C and Ge-C clusters, rings, nanowheels, nanorodes, nanocages and multidecker sandwiches, as well as silicon planar rings and fullerenes similar to the analogous sp2 bonding carbon structures. It is shown that this pedagogically simple and transparent framework can lead to an endless variety of novel and functional nanomaterials with important potential applications in nanotechnology, nanomedicine and nanobiology. Some of the so called predicted structures have been already synthesized, not necessarily with the same rational and motivation. Finally, it is anticipated that such powerful and transparent rules and analogies, in addition to their predictive power, could also lead to far-reaching interpretations and a deeper understanding of already known results and information.