APPLICATIONS OF TECHNOLOGY:
- Battery electrodes
- Electronic data storage
- Tunable for any application
- At least 30 different compositions have been demonstrated
- Controllable nanoparticle morphology
- No specialized equipment required for setup
- Scalable process for mass production
Delia Milliron and her colleagues at Berkeley Lab have developed a technology for designing and fabricating modular inorganic nanocomposites. The researchers have created at least 30 different compositions assembled from nanoparticles such as nanocrystals and semiconductor nanorods. With further development, limitless combinations can be possible.
The Berkeley Lab technology is a streamlined, two-step process. First, a known method is used to assemble modules of nanocrystals, such as lead selenide (PbSe), or nanorods, such as cadmium sulfide (CdS), coated with organic ligands. Then, the ligands are replaced with chalcogenidometallate clusters (ChaMs), such as copper sulfide (Cu2S), that link to the nanocrystal or nanorod building blocks to form a thermally stable nanocomposite.
The system is tunable; components can be selected from a wide range of nanoscale building blocks. Industries, such as photovoltaic cell manufacturing, will benefit from this invention’s unique ability to control a nanocomposite’s morphology when mixed with another inorganic material. For example, the researchers demonstrated that CdS nanorods in a Cu2S matrix remain vertically aligned and are regularly spaced—the ideal morphology for optimal electrical conductivity and power efficiency—after they have been combined with a matching ChaM to form a Berkeley Lab inorganic nanocomposite.
The electronics, data storage, and energy industries have viewed inorganic nanocomposites as a means to boost efficiencies in either energy consumption or power conversion. However, the materials have not reached the marketplace because there were no generally applicable techniques to control both their composition and morphology. The Berkeley Lab technology provides control and opens the door to designing materials with specific properties.
DEVELOPMENT STAGE: Proven principle.
STATUS: Published patent application WO2011047198 available at www.wipo.int. Available for licensing or collaborative research.
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
Tangirala, R., J.L. Baker, A.P. Alivisatos, D.J. Milliron, “Modular Inorganic Nanocomposites by Conversion of Nanocrystal Superlattices,” Angewandte Chemie International Edition 49, 2878–2882 (2010).
SEE THESE OTHER BERKELEY LAB TECHNOLOGIES IN THIS FIELD:
REFERENCE NUMBER: IB-2749