Nanocrystals are tiny particles that are not greater than 100 nanometres. Due to their crystalline structure, nanocrystals have a special property profile, which makes them highly interesting for the development of new materials and innovative technologies. The use requires a detailed fundamental research. An international team of researchers has now achieved pioneering results. For the first time, researchers have succeeded in producing nanocrystals that merge through self-organisation to form flat crystalline nanostructures that are highly conductive.
Conductive nanostructures extend the fields of application of nanocrystals
Electrical components are produced on the basis of nanocrystals for quite some time now. However, these components are barely conductive, due to gaps between the nanoparticles that hinder the flow of free electrons. Flat nanostructures in contrast allow a considerably improved flow of electrons. Due to their conductivity, they provide a broad range of applications, such as inflexible electronic circuits, solar cells and photo sensors.
Organic molecules call nanocrystals to order
The nanocrystals are small lead sulphide particles that have a relatively simple structure.
The driving forces behind the orderly arrangement of particles are organic molecules. These molecules (oleic acid), that are located on the surface of the nanocrystals, have a stabilising effect. When the organic molecules start to crystallise among themselves, the process of self-organisation begins. This causes the nanocrystals to form a crystalline and coherent structure. Instead of composing any shape, the nanocrystals cluster and form a well-structured surface.
Learning from nature: the key function of colloid research
A large number of research projects worldwide deals with the central question how matter organises itself in the nature. The better the comprehension of these processes the greater the opportunity to learn from the nature when it comes to the development of artificial systems. Following the example of nature, complex macromolecular systems with tailor-made properties and functionalities can be produced. The centre of interest are the colloids. Those are tiny particles that disperse in another (solid, liquid or gaseous) medium. Colloid research is of central significance insofar, as it provides new insights into the self-organisation of matter and the construction of complex systems. At the University of Bayreuth, the macromolecule and colloid research is one of the main focuses of both, teaching and research. This profile is strengthened by the research findings presented.