Nanotech researchers continue to find novel nanostructures with promising applications. A web of single-crystalline titanium disilicide absorbs light efficiently and may be a useful catalyst to split water to furnish hydrogen for fuel. From Boston College, via AAAS EurekAlert “Scientists grow ‘nanonets’ able to snare added energy transfer“:
Using two abundant and relatively inexpensive elements, Boston College chemists have produced nanonets, a flexible webbing of nano-scale wires that multiplies surface area critical to improving the performance of the wires in electronics and energy applications.
Researchers grew wires from titanium and silicon into a two-dimensional network of branches that resemble flat, rectangular netting, Assistant Professor of Chemistry Professor Dunwei Wang and his team report in the international edition of the German Chemical Society journal Angewandte Chemie [citation].
By creating nanonets, the team conquered a longstanding engineering challenge in nanotechnology: 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,” said Wang. “The goal was to increase surface area and maintain the structural integrity of the material without sacrificing surface area and thereby improving performance.”