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Keywords:

  • aqueous solution syntheses;
  • biomimetic approach;
  • crystal growth;
  • mesoscale assembly;
  • nanostructures

Abstract

A homogeneous and disordered assembly of densely packed nanocrystals 2–3 nm in size was synthesized at room temperature in an aqueous solution without the assistance of any organic molecules. The assembled nanocrystals of titanium oxides, such as anatase titanium dioxide, sodium titanate, and a solid solution with rutile tin dioxide, formed macroscopic transparent objects 2–5 mm in size. In general, it is not easy to obtain homogeneous and disordered assembly of nanocrystals without assistance of any organic molecules for the inhibition of inhomogeneous and disordered aggregation. In the present work, the formation of the hydrated layer on the surface of nanocrystals facilitated the homogeneous and disordered assembly. The crystal phases and the compositions of the nanocrystals were controlled by the tuning of the synthetic conditions, such as the initial pH and metal source concentration. Based on the formation processes and mechanisms, this approach for the coupled synthesis and assembly can be applied to a variety of nanomaterials for preparation of homogeneous but disordered assembly.