Sigma-Aldrich has announced a distribution agreement with Nanosys Inc., an advanced materials architect. Under the agreement, Sigma-Aldrich, through its Aldrich Materials Science business, is now distributing Nanosys-created silicon nanowires to the global scientific research community for the development of new applications in technologies such as solid-state lighting, electronics and energy storage.
A consistent and high-quality supply of these materials from Aldrich Materials Science is expected to enable scientists to accelerate their research to further develop a variety of new high-technology applications that can continue to open up exciting end product markets. Across an increasingly diverse range of applications, silicon nanowires can deliver tangible benefits and significant advances. Examples include:
- Electronics applications: sensors can be constructed from nanowire arrays that act as a highly sensitive ‘e-skin’ which could be used to restore the sense of touch to patients with prosthetic limbs or to enable robotic systems to ‘sense’ pressure.
- Solar cells: Research conducted earlier in 2010 found that fabricating thin films from ordered arrays of vertical silicon nanowires significantly increased the light-trapping properties in solar cells, compared to conventional silicon thin film photovoltaics.
- Batteries: Nanowire technology is enabling the production of batteries that are more economical, longer lasting, smaller and more environmentally friendly. Nanowires are used to increase the surface area for electrolyte reaction, thereby enabling greater power in a smaller overall footprint.