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Battery conductor shape mimics flower

Wed, 10/17/2012 - 18:02 -- Ruth Williams

A flower shaped semiconductor that could boost battery technology has been created by researchers at North Carolina State University.  The nano-sized structures have ‘petals’ made from the semiconductor material germanium sulphide (GeS) stacked to resemble a flower. This results in a very thin structure that has a great surface area.

“This could significantly increase the capacity of lithium-ion batteries, for instance, since the thinner structure with larger surface area can hold more lithium ions.” said Dr. Linyou Cao, an assistant professor of materials science and engineering at the university. He added that the flower structure could also increase capacity for supercapacitors.
The floral structure would also be very good for absorbing solar energy to turn into useable power, making thinner, more efficient and, because it’s non-toxic, safer solar cells.
The university researchers heated the GeS powder to the point of vaporisation, then blow the vapor into a cooler furnace. Here the GeS settles out of the air into a layered sheet between 20 and 30 nanometers thick and up to 100 micrometers long. Additional layers can then be added to create the carnation like structure.