Nanonets to revolutionise electronics' performance



Washington, Sept 3: Scientists at Boston College have created nanonets, by using titanium and silicon in a two-dimensional network of wires that resemble flat, rectangular netting - a finding critical to improving the performance of electronics and energy applications.


The nanonets are a flexible webbing of nano-scale wires that multiplies surface area critical to improving the performance of the wires in electronics and energy applications.

Assistant Professor of Chemistry Professor Dunwei Wang and his team created this new structure, which improves material used in microelectronics and water-splitting.

With this advance in nanotechnology, the team has achieved a major breakthrough by creating a material that is extremely thin yet maintains its complexity, a structural design large or long enough to efficiently transfer an electrical charge.

"We wanted to create a nano structure unlike any other with a relatively large surface area. The goal was to increase surface area and maintain the structural integrity of the material without sacrificing surface area and thereby improving performance," said Wang.

He said that the tests showed an improved performance in the material's ability to conduct electricity through high quality connections of the nanonet, which suggest the material could lend itself to applications from electronics to energy-harvesting.

Titanium disilicide (TiSi2) has been proven to absorb light across a wide range of the solar spectrum, is easily obtained, and is inexpensive. Metal silicides are also found in microelectronics devices.

The team said that the nanonets grew spontaneously from the bottom-up through simple chemical reactions, unprovoked by a catalyst.

Working in 2D, Wang's team produced a web that under a microscope resembles a tree with all branches growing in the same perpendicular direction from the trunk.

The team used titanium disilicide because of the material's superior conductivity. The semiconductor also stores the gases produced, enabling the simple separation of hydrogen and oxygen. So-called water splitting may play a key role in producing hydrogen for fuel.

"We're excited to have discovered this unique structure and we are already at work to gauge just how much the nanonet can improve the performance of a material that is already used in electronics and clean energy applications," said Wang.

The study is reported in the international edition of the German Chemical Society journal Angewandte Chemie.


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