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The breakthroughs in next generation energy conversion and storage in thin-film and multifunctional devices depend on nanomaterials and composites, particularly with facile processing and manufacturing techniques. In recent years, several emerging technology breakthroughs have enabled unprecedented device performance when nanomaterials and devices are integrated at the converging length scales. For example, metal nanowires (NWs) incorporated in micro- or nanofluidic channels create plasmonic surface enhancement for biological and chemical sensing to at least a twofold increase in magnitude. Another exciting development is that nanomaterial assemblies are integrated with waveguides and optical fibers to improve light interactions for energy conversion in photosynthesis reactions and solar energy storage. These materials are optimized for electrical as well as optical properties in the devices. Nanostructured carbonaceous materials, semiconductor metal oxides, polymers, and metal NWs enable next-generation solar and wind energy harvesting, chemical and electrical storage, stretchable and flexible electronics, transparent electrodes, and displays.
Date of Publication: Sept. 2012