The Boston College researchers said they grew the nanowires from titanium and silicon into a two-dimensional network of branches that resemble flat, rectangular netting. They said their accomplishment conquered a longstanding engineering challenge in nanotechnology -- creating a material that is extremely thin yet maintains its complexity in a structural design large or long enough to efficiently transfer an electrical charge.
"We wanted to create a nano structure unlike any other with a relatively large surface area," said Assistant Professor Dunwei Wang, who led the research. "The goal was to increase surface area and maintain the structural integrity of the material without sacrificing surface area and thereby improving performance."
Tests showed an improved performance in the material's ability to conduct electricity through high-quality connections of the nanonet, which suggest the material could lend itself to applications from electronics to energy-harvesting, Wang said.
The researchers report their achievement in the international edition of the German Chemical Society journal Angewandte Chemie.