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NSF Distinguished Lecture: Nanowire Building Blocks for Photonics and Energy Conversion

About the series

Dr. Peidong Yang

Professor of Chemistry,  University of California at Berkeley

2007 NSF Waterman Award Winner

Nanowires are of both fundamental and technological interest. They represent the critical components in the potential nanoscale electronic and photonic device applications. In our lab,  the vapor-liquid-solid crystal growth mechanism has been utilized for the general synthesis of nanowires of different compositions, sizes, and orientation. To this end, we have successfully synthesized superlattice nanowires and core-sheath nanostructures. Achieving such high level of synthetic control over nanowire growth allows us to explore some of their very unique physical properties. For example, semiconductor nanowires can function as self-contained nanoscale lasers, sub-wavelength optical waveguides, photodetectors and efficient nonlinear optical mixers. We also discovered that the thermoconductivity of the silicon nanowires can be significantly reduced when the nanowire size is in the 20-nm region, pointing to a very promising approach for designing better thermoelectrical materials. In addition, semiconductor nanowire arrays can be used as potential substrates to achieve high energy conversion efficiency in photovoltaics.



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