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The main goal is to understand the details of the self-assembly processes leading to the highly regular h -BN nanomesh, and to apply this knowledge in order to produce related nanostructures with tunable sizes and shapes.

By filling the nanomesh holes with suitable metal particles and by decorating the mesh wires with molecules of any desired functionalities, this h -BN scaffold of very interesting structural size and shape will be used for smart surface engineering. Before the exploitation of the high technological potential of the nanomesh, the following issues shall be resolved:

I. Understanding how the large number of atoms (400) self-assemble to form the nanomesh.

From the existing knowledge it appears that the substrate does not participate in the self-assembling other than by supplying a highly corrugated potential energy landscape for the boron nitride units, and a substantial lattice mismatch. Insight into kinetic and thermodynamic aspects of the self-assembly processes shall be obtained.

II. Determination of limitations of the nanomesh production

The use of new precursor molecules and cheaper substrates will be explored.

III. Analysis of tunability of nanomesh sizes and shapes.

Manipulation of the size and shape of the mesh unit during self-assembly will be investigated in order to be adjusted to particular needs.

IV. Functionalization analysis of the nanomesh.

Three ways to functionalize the nanomesh will be carried out. They involve the chemistry of the boron nitride itself, the nanomesh as a topographic template for depositing metallic clusters and the decoration of the mesh with larger molecules containing specific functional groups.

In order to reach these goals, 3 work packages (WP) have been defined, where different research groups are involved in one or more of them:

I. Understanding the mechanism of self-assembly (WP1).
The self-assembly shall be studied live at the nanomesh formation temperature.
(Leader: Prof. Frenken, Leiden University, NL)

II. Production issues (WP2).
Functionalized and defined nanomeshes will be produced in a mass production perspective.
(Leader: Prof. Sachdev, Universitaet des Saarlandes, D)

III. Toward applications (WP3)
WP3 will deal with potential applications in fields like nanocatalysis, nanomagnets, functional surfaces, spintronics and quantum computing.
(Leader: Prof. Champness, Notthingham University, UK)

| Last update: 25.03.2008 by C. Galli Marxer