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Keywords:

  • colloid chemistry;
  • hybrid nanocomposites;
  • nanosheets;
  • self-assembly;
  • thin films

Abstract

A wide variety of cation-exchangeable layered transition metal oxides and their relatively rare counterparts, anion-exchangeable layered hydroxides, have been exfoliated into individual host layers, i.e., nanosheets. Exfoliation is generally achieved via a high degree of swelling, typically driven either by intercalation of bulky organic ions (quaternary ammonium cations, propylammonium cations, etc.) for the layered oxides or by solvation with organic solvents (formamide, butanol, etc.) for the hydroxides. Ultimate two-dimensional (2D) anisotropy for the nanosheets, with thickness of around one nanometer versus lateral size ranging from submicrometer to several tens of micrometers, allows them to serve either as an ideal quantum system for fundamental study or as a basic building block for functional assembly. The charge-bearing inorganic macromolecule-like nanosheets can be assembled or organized through various solution-based processing techniques (e.g., flocculation, electrostatic sequential deposition, or the Langmuir–Blodgett method) to produce a range of nanocomposites, multilayer nanofilms, and core–shell nanoarchitectures, which have great potential for electronic, magnetic, optical, photochemical, and catalytic applications.