Seeds of a Solar Cell
Copper nanowires have shown promise for use in touch screens, organic LED lights and solar cells -- and the lab of chemistry professor Benjamin Wiley grows them from scratch. When added to a growth solution, these "seeds," octahedra made of copper oxide nanoparticles (one micrometer wide), sprout nanowires in mere minutes. Synthesizing copper nanowires using the octahedra allowed Wiley's lab to better control the number and length of nanowires, which may help make them a cheap, efficient substitute in transparent conducting films. Wiley's lab described the new process in a Feb. paper published in the journal Small.