At Least 1,000X Thinner than a Human Hair
- Type: Conference Presentation
- Conference Type:
AIChE Annual Meeting
- Presentation Date:
November 5, 2013
- Skill Level:
The last century witnessed the development of two classes of materials—polymers and semiconductors—that dramatically changed people’s lives. A new class of materials—nanomaterials—has emerged with the potential to create a wide range of new technologies because of their unique combination of properties. For example , semiconductor nanowires have attributes of polymers like mechanical flexibility , light-weight and low cost , combined with the useful electronic and optical properties of semiconductors into one material. Nanowires can be embedded in polymer hosts , spun into fibers , or dispersed in solvents and printed on substrates like organic materials. They might be utilized to create functional textiles with unprecedented capability , such as fabrics with impressive structural integrity capable of generating power from the sun as in a photovoltaic device or store energy in the form of a battery. Nanocrystals of various semiconductors can also be made and formulated into paint that can be used to deposit semiconductor films at low cost onto large-area , mechanically flexible and light-weight substrates for a next generation of low-cost solar cells. This presentation will highlight nanomaterials we have been studying for lithium ion battery and photovoltaics applications in particular and some of the challenges facing commercial use.