Assembling Inorganic Nanocrystal Gels
Inorganic nanocrystal gels retain distinct properties of individual nanocrystals while offering tunable, network structure-dependent characteristics. We review different mechanisms for assembling gels from colloidal nanocrystals including (1) controlled destabilization, (2) direct bridging, (3) depletion, as well as linking mediated by (4) coordination bonding or (5) dynamic covalent bonding, and we highlight how each impacts gel properties. These approaches use nanocrystal surface chemistry or the addition of small molecules to mediate inter-nanocrystal attractions. Each method offers advantages in terms of gel stability, reversibility, or tunability and presents new opportunities for design of reconfigurable materials and fueled assemblies.