Home Energy Silicon Nanowires Could Enable Smart Solar Windows

Silicon Nanowires Could Enable Smart Solar Windows

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Image: Technical Research Centre, Indian Association for the Cultivation of Science

Transparent photodetectors are at the heart of how today’s touch-screen displays function. The material indium tin oxide (ITO) has kept that heart beating over the years by serving as a transparent conductor for controlling display pixels. While nanomaterials such as carbon nanotubes and graphene have been tapped as potential replacements for ITO, the old king has held its throne.

Now an international group of researchers from India and Ireland have developed a new approach based on transparent nanowire networks made from silicon-on-insulator (SOI) that appears it could finally take the crown from ITO.

In research described in the journal ACS Nano, researchers from the Indian Association for the Cultivation of Science (IACS) and the Centre for Research on Adaptive Nanostructures and Nanodevices (CRANN) in Ireland have for the first time fabricated silicon (Si) nanowire networks with seamless junctions.

The major breakthrough was not simply fabricating a Si nanowire network with seamless junctions, but also transferring that network onto a flexible polymer substrate, according to according to K. Mallikarjuna Rao, a scientist at IACS and co-author of the study. This process should open up avenues to fabricating transparent and flexible devices for all materials.