Semiconductors have served as choice materials for many electronic and optical devices because of their physical properties. Commercial solar cells, computer chips and other semiconductor technologies typically use large semiconductor crystals, but these are expensive and can make large-scale applications such as rooftop solar-energy collectors prohibitive.
The “electronic glue” developed in Dmitri Talapin’s laboratory at the University of Chicago solves the ligand problem. The team describes in the journal Science how substituting the insulating organic molecules with novel inorganic molecules dramatically increases the electronic coupling between nanocrystals. The University of Chicago licensed the underlying technology for thermoelectric applications to Evident Technologies in February.
SourcesCitation: “Colloidal Nanocrystals with Molecular Metal Chalcogenide Surface Ligands,” Maksym V. Kovalendo, Department of Chemistry, University of Chicago; Marcus Scheele, Molecular Foundry, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory; and Dmitri V. Talapin, Department of Chemistry, University of Chicago, and Center for Nanoscale Materials, Argonne National Laboratory, Science, June 12, 2009.
Funding sources: American Chemical Society Petroleum Research Fund, The Chicago Energy Initiative, U.S. Department of Energy and Evident Technologies Inc.