Germanium sulfide nanoflowers can improve solar cells, batteries, supercapacitators

Taking a cue from nature and photsynthetic plants, a team of North Carolina State University researchers have created “nanoflowers” composed of germanium sulfide (GeS.) These beautiful nanoflowers have the potential to greatly improve solar energy cells and energy storage systems. 

Nanoflowers distinctly resemble a marigold. Its numerous petals are only 20-30 nanometers thick. Yet these thin sheets of germanium sulfide are capable of storing more electrical energy than traditional energy storage cells of comparable thickness. 

To create its nanoflowers, the NCSU research team heated germanium sulfide powder in a furnace until the material was vaporized. They then blew the airborne GeS particles into a cooler part of the furnace, where they would settle onto a layered sheet about 20-30 nanometers thick and 100 nanometers long. The sheets branch away from each other as more layers are added, creating a beautiful structure that resembles a flower. 

Efficient, inexpensive, and non-toxic, GeS is an excellent material for solar cells. It also promises to increase the storage capacity of lithium-ion batteries and likewise boost supercapacitator storage.

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