METALLIC ELEMENTS WITHOUT METALLIC PROPERTIES
You could say that if you don’t know metal molecules, you don’t know Nanogap. They are our patent-protected core technology that promises to bring a new vision to the future of materials. And despite what the name might suggest, these are not conventional metals, or even metal nanoparticles. In fact, quite the contrary, they are out-of-the-ordinary, innovative and unique sub-nanometer materials with disruptive catalytic properties.
However, it is not surprising that the term metal molecule catches your attention, since metals do not normally form molecules on their own. This is because, in metallic bonding, the electrons are weakly bound to the nucleus, so they can easily jump from one atom to another, creating a kind of large electronic cloud – or sea of mobile electrons – that shapes the material, holds the atoms together and gives rise to metallic properties, such as electrical conductivity. This is very different to molecular bonding where electrons are confined, and where molecules are not normally conductive. So, what are Metal Molecules, metals with molecular bonding rather than metallic bonding?
Literally, new forms of matter. They are tiny clusters of atoms (typically less than 30) around 0.5 nanometres in size. And while composed of metal atoms, such as silver or copper, the tiny size of the clusters results in a very different electronic structure to that of bulk metal and more conventional metallic nanoparticles. Metal molecules are held together by covalent bonding: they share a pair of electrons between each atom. These electrons are quantum confined, so they are restricted to a very small region that is comparable to, or even smaller, than the wavelength of the electrons themselves. This produces an electronic structure with valence and conduction bands and thus gives it semiconducting properties.
Do you realize? Metal molecules represent a type of innovative technology with characteristics that make them stand out from the competition. For example, you should know that their properties depend mostly only on the size and shape of the cluster, that is, the number of atoms it is composed of, and less so on the actual element it is made of (which is not the case in conventional metals or metal nanoparticles). This dynamic characteristic allows Nanogap to envision a third dimension to the periodic table comprising metal molecules with size dependent properties.
Among these novel properties is catalytic activity, which allows metal molecules to act as accelerators for certain chemical reactions. They are much more efficient than conventional catalysts, and also much more cost effective: metal molecules made from low cost and abundant elements, such as silver or copper, can have better catalytic properties than catalysts such as those made from more expensive and scarce platinum.
Armed with this revolutionary technology, Nanogap envisions a profound impact across multiple facets of society, from spearheading decarbonization efforts to revolutionizing healthcare. Metal molecules aren’t just amazing; they represent an awe-inspiring leap forward in material science, poised to usher in a new era of societal advancement.
Don’t you find their potential simply astounding?