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Metal-conductive polymer hybrid nanostructures: preparation and electrical properties of palladium-polyimidazole nanowires

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Reda Hassanien, Dr Scott Watson, Professor Andrew HoultonORCiD, Dr Ben Horrocks



This is the authors' accepted manuscript of an article that has been published in its final definitive form by Institute of Physics Publishing Ltd., 2016.

For re-use rights please refer to the publisher's terms and conditions.


A simple, convenient method for the formation of hybrid metal/conductive polymer nanostructures is described. Polyimidazole (PIm) has been templated on λ-DNA via oxidative polymerisation of imidazole using FeCl3 to produce conductive PIm/DNA nanowires. The PIm/DNA nanowires were decorated with Pd (Pd/PIm/DNA) by electroless reduction of PdCl42- with NaBH4 in the presence of PIm/DNA; the choice of imidazole was motivated by the potential Pd(II) binding site at the pyridinic N atom. The formation of PIm/DNA and the presence of metallic Pd on Pd/PIm/DNA nanowires were verified by FTIR, UV-Vis and XPS spectroscopy techniques. AFM studies show that the nanowires have diameters in the range 5–45 nm with a slightly greater mean diameter (17.1 ± 0.75 nm) for the Pd-decorated nanowires than the PIm/DNA nanowires (14.5 ± 0.89 nm). After incubation for 24h in the polymerisation solution, the PIm/DNA nanowires show a smooth, uniform morphology, which is retained after decoration with Pd. Using a combination of scanned conductance microscopy (SCM), conductive AFM and two-terminal measurements we show that both types of nanowire are conductive and that it is possible to discriminate different possible mechanisms of transport. The conductivity of the Pd/PIm/DNA nanowires, (0.1 - 1.4 S cm-1), is comparable to the PIm/DNA nanowires (0.37 ± 0.029 S cm-1). In addition, the conductance of Pd/PIm/DNA nanowires exhibits Arrhenius behaviour (Ea = 0.43 ± 0.02 eV) as a function of temperature in contrast to simple Pd/DNA nanowires. These results indicate that although the Pd crystallites on Pd/PIm/DNA nanowires decorate the PIm polymer, the major current pathway is through the polymer rather than the Pd.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Al-Hinai M, Hassanien R, Watson SMD, Wright NG, Houlton A, Horrocks BR

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Nanotechnology

Year: 2016

Volume: 27

Issue: 9

Online publication date: 08/02/2016

Acceptance date: 14/01/2016

Date deposited: 29/01/2016

ISSN (print): 0957-4484

ISSN (electronic): 1361-6528

Publisher: Institute of Physics Publishing Ltd.


DOI: 10.1088/0957-4484/27/9/095704


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Funder referenceFunder name
245565One North East, EU-FP7 project LAMAND