There has been tremendous interest and progress with synthesis of inorganic nanowires (NWs). However, much of the progress only resulted in NWs with diameters much greater than their respective quantum confinement scales, i.e. 10-100 nm. Even at this scale, NW-based materials offer enhanced charge transport and smaller diffusion length scales for improved performance with various electrochemical and photoelectrochemical energy conversion and storage applications. In this paper, these improvements are illustrated with specific results on enhanced charge transport with tin oxide NWs in dye sensitized solar cells, higher capacity retention with molybdenum oxide (MoO3) NW arrays and enhanced photoactivity with hematite NW arrays compared with their nanoparticle (NP) or thin film format counterparts. In addition, the NWs or one-dimensional crystalline materials with diameters less than 100 nm provide a useful platform for creating new materials either as substrates for heteroepitaxy or through the phase transformation with reaction. Specific results with single crystal phase transformation of hematite (a-Fe 2O3) to pyrite (FeS2) NWs and heteroepitaxy of indium-rich InGaN alloy over GaN NW substrates are presented to illustrate the viability of using NWs for creating new materials. In terms of energy applications, it is essential to have a method for continuous manufacturing of vertical NW arrays over large areas. In this regard, a simple plasma-based technique is discussed that potentially could be scaled up for roll-to-roll processing of NW arrays.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
- Condensed Matter Physics
- Acoustics and Ultrasonics
- Surfaces, Coatings and Films