Navigation Links
Empa grows 'sea urchin'-shaped structures
Date:7/29/2010

Processes which lend materials new characteristics are generally complicated and therefore often rather difficult to reproduce. So surprise turns to astonishment when scientists report on new methods which not only produce outstanding results despite the fact that they use economically priced starting materials but also do not need expensive instrumentation.

Just a simple framework made of polystyrene

This is exactly what Jamil Elias and Laetitia Philippe of Empa's Mechanics of Materials and Nanostructures Laboratory in Thun have succeeded in doing. They used polystyrene spheres as a sort of scaffolding to create three-dimensional nanostructures of semiconducting zinc oxide on various substrates. The two scientists are convinced that the (nanostructured) rough but regularly-structured surfaces they have produced this way can be exploited in a range of electronic and optoelectronic devices such as solar cells and also short wave lasers, light emitting diodes and field emission displays.

The scientific world reacted promptly. The paper in which the results were reported was published in January 2010 in the on line edition of Advanced Materials. In the same month it became the most frequently downloaded article, and in April it was selected to appear on the Inside Front Cover of the journal.

The principle behind the process is quite simple. Little spheres of polystyrene a few micrometers in diameter are placed on an electrically conducting surface where they orient themselves in regular patterns. Polystyrene is cheap and ubiquitous it is widely used as a packaging material (for example for plastic yoghurt pots) or as insulating material in expanded form as a solidified foam.

Hollow bodies with prickles for photovoltaic applications

The tiny balls of polystyrene anchored in this way form the template on which the nanowires are desposited. Jamil Elias has succeeded in using an electrochemical method which himself has developed to vary the conductivity and electrolytic properties of the polystyrene balls in such way that the zinc oxide is deposited on the surface of the microspheres. Over time regular nanowires grow from this surface, and when this process is complete the polystyrene is removed, leaving behind hollow spherical structures with spines little sea-urchins, as it were! Tightly packed on the underlying substrate, the sea-urchins lend it a three-dimensional structure, thereby increasing considerably its surface area.

This nanostructured surface is predestined for use in photovoltaic applications. The researchers expect that it will have excellent light scattering properties. This means the surface will be able to absorb significantly more sunlight and therefore be able to convert radiated energy into electricity more efficiently. In a project supported by the Swiss Federal Office of Energy (SFOE), Laetitia Philippe and her research team are developing extremely thin absorbers (ETAs) for solar cells, based these zinc oxide nanostructures.


'/>"/>

Contact: Dr. Jamil Elias
jamil.elias@empa.ch
41-332-283-627
Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology (EMPA)
Source:Eurekalert  

Related biology technology :

1. Dramatic changes in agriculture needed as world warms and grows, researchers say
2. Nations Largest Network of Doctors Specializing in Bioidentical Hormones Grows at an Exponential Rate
3. The MedZilla Report for October 2009 - Health Care Employment Grows Again in October Even As Clinics, Specialty Centers Close
4. The MedZilla Report for September 2009 - Care Grows Again in September and - Surprisingly - Pharma Sales Jobs Up Too
5. Impact of Open Source Software on Clinical Trials Grows With Release of OpenClinica 3.0 Electronic Data Capture Software
6. The MedZilla Report for August 2009 -- Health Care Grows Another 28,000 While Hospitals And Insurers Feel Painful Pinch
7. Video shows nanotube spins as it grows
8. Depth charge: Using atomic force microscopy to study subsurface structures
9. Biomedical Structures Receives Growth Capital from Ampersand Ventures to Fund Ongoing Expansion
10. Light twists rigid structures in unexpected nanotech finding
11. Using magnetic toys as inspiration, researchers tease out structures of self-assembled clusters
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Empa grows 'sea urchin'-shaped structures
(Date:12/8/2016)... to fuel Philadelphia,s innovative digital ... Southeastern Pennsylvania (" Ben Franklin "); Independence ... Cross; and Safeguard Scientifics ("Safeguard") (NYSE: SFE ... funding initiative over a four year period to grow ... burgeoning economic vitality in digital health, Ben Franklin ...
(Date:12/7/2016)... ... December 07, 2016 , ... ... that it has become a Wonderware Certified System Integrator Partner. Huffman Engineering ... Schneider Electric Software. , “The System Integrator Partner certification gives customers confidence that ...
(Date:12/7/2016)... , Dec. 7, 2016  Nordion, a standalone ... Atomics (GA), welcome today,s award by the United ... Administration (NNSA) of the Phase II cooperative agreement ... Nordion and the University of Missouri Research Reactor ... will support the establishment of a new, reliable ...
(Date:12/7/2016)... 7, 2016  Genprex, Inc. a biopharmaceutical company ... treatments, today announced that it has retained ICR ... strategic communications and advisory firm, to develop and ... will combine investor relations, public relations and digital ... profile of Genprex and its lead candidate Oncoprex, ...
Breaking Biology Technology:
(Date:11/22/2016)... MINNETONKA, Minn. , Nov. 22, 2016   ... that supports the entire spectrum of clinical research, is ... by Medical LiveWire Healthcare and Life Sciences Awards ... This award caps off an unprecedented year of recognition ... clinical trials for over 15 years. iMedNet ...
(Date:11/16/2016)... , Nov. 16, 2016 Sensory Inc ... and security for consumer electronics, and VeriTran ... and retail industry, today announced a global partnership ... way to authenticate users of mobile banking and ... TrulySecure™ software which requires no specialized biometric ...
(Date:6/27/2016)... 2016 Research and Markets has announced the ... report to their offering. The ... to grow at a CAGR of 12.28% during the period ... an in-depth market analysis with inputs from industry experts. The report ... years. The report also includes a discussion of the key vendors ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):