Nanoparticles can be used as the building blocks for materials such as supracrystals or ionic liquids. However, they lack the ability to bond along specific directions as atoms and molecules do. We report a simple method to place target molecules specifically at two diametrically opposed positions in the molecular coating of metal nanoparticles. The approach is based on the functionalization of the polar singularities that must form when a curved surface is coated with ordered monolayers, such as a phase-separated mixture of ligands. The molecules placed at these polar defects have been used as chemical handles to form nanoparticle chains that in turn can generate self-standing films.
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