Nanostructures for sensors, electronics, energy and environment
Motta, Nunzio (2012) Nanostructures for sensors, electronics, energy and environment. Beilstein Journal of Nanotechnology, 3, pp. 351-352.
Nanoscale science is growing evermore important on a global scale and is widely seen as playing an integral part in the growth of future world economies. The daunting energy crisis we are facing could be solved not only by new and improved ways of getting energy directly from the sun, but also by saving power thanks to advancements in electronics and sensors. New, cheap dye-sensitized and polymer solar cells hold the promise of environmentally friendly and simple production methods, along with mechanical flexibility and low weight, matching the conditions for a widespread deployment of this technology. Cheap sensors based on nanomaterials can make a fundamental contribution to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, allowing the creation of large sensor networks to monitor countries and cities, improving our quality of life. Nanowires and nano-platelets of metal oxides are at the forefront of the research to improve sensitivity and reduce the power consumption in gas sensors. Nanoelectronics is the next step in the electronic roadmap, with many devices currently in production already containing components smaller than 100 nm. Molecules and conducting polymers are at the forefront of this research with the goal of reducing component size through the use of cheap and environmentally friendly production methods. This, and the coming steps that will eventually bring the individual circuit element close to the ultimate limit of the atomic level, are expected to deliver better devices with reduced power consumption.
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