Fischer, J. E. Department of Materials Science and Engineering, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
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Crystalline or partially crystalline solids consisting of a host lattice containing voids into which guest atoms or molecules are inserted. Candidate hosts for intercalation reactions may be classified by the number of directions (0 to 3) along which the lattice is strongly bonded and thus unaffected by the intercalation reaction. Isotropic, three-dimensional lattices (including many oxides and zeolites) contain large voids that can accept multiple guest atoms or molecules. Layer-type, two-dimensional lattices (graphite and clays) swell up perpendicular to the layers when the guest atoms enter (illus. a). The chains in one-dimensional structures (polymers such as polyacetylene) rotate cooperatively about their axes during the intercalation reaction to form channels that are occupied by the guest atoms (illus. b). In the intercalation family based on solid C60 (buckminsterfullerene), the zero-dimensional host lattice consists of 60-atom carbon clusters with strong internal bonding but weak intercluster bonding. These clusters pack together like hard 1-nm-diameter spheres, creating interstitial voids which are large enough to accept most elements in the periodic table (illus. c). The proportions of guest and host atoms may be varied continuously in many of these materials, which are therefore not true compounds. Many ternary and quaternary substances, containing two or three distinct guest species, are known. The guest may be an atom or inorganic molecule (such as an alkali metal, halogen, or metal halide), an organic molecule (for example, an aromatic such as benzene, pyridine, or ammonia), or both. See also: Crystal structure; Fullerene; Graphite; Polymer; Zeolite
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