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September 28th, 2007
Chemists at UB have developed a novel way to grow chemically pure, zinc oxide thin films characterized by dense, bristle-like nanostructures and a new method for depositing them on temperature-sensitive substrates, including polymers, plastics and tapes.
The research, published online last month in the Journal of Physical Chemistry, may make possible the deposition of versatile zinc oxide films onto flexible surfaces, enabling the development of more efficient solar cells, liquid-crystal displays, chemical sensors and optoelectronic devices.
The issue of the journal commemorates the career of Richard E. Smalley, a pioneer of nanotechnology, with whom the lead UB author, James F. Garvey, professor of chemistry, worked while on sabbatical in 1995.
High-quality zinc oxide thin films are versatile and can be fabricated into many shapes, including films, nanorods and nanoparticles. However, there is a drawback: They usually are deposited at high temperatures, which can damage or even melt the substrate they are coating.
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