Solid and soft nanostructured materials: fundamentals and applications
Journal article, 2005
The scientific work worldwide on nanostructured materials is extensive as well as the work on the applications of nanostructured materials. We will review quasi two-, one- and zero-dimensional solid and soft materials and their applications. We will restrict ourselves to a few examples from partly fundamental aspects and partly from application aspects. We will start with trapping of excitons in semiconductor nanostructures. The subjects are: physical realizations, phase diagrams, traps, local density approximations, and mesoscopic condensates. From these fundamental questions in solid nanomaterials we will move to trapping of molecules in water using nanostructured electrodes. We will also discuss how to manipulate water (create vortices) by nanostructure materials.
The second part deals with nanorods (nano-wires). Particularly we will exemplify with ZnO nanorods. The reason for this is that ZnO has: a very strong excitons binding energy (60 meV) and strong photon–excitons coupling energy, a strong tendency to create nanostructures, and properties which make the material of interest for both optoelectronics and for medical applications. We start with the growth of crystalline ZnO nanorods on different substrates, both crystalline (silicon, silicon carbide, sapphire, etc) and amorphous substrates (silicon dioxide, plastic materials, etc) for temperatures from 50 °C up to 900 °C. The optical properties and crystalline properties of the nanorods will be analyzed. Applications from optoelectronics (lasers, LEDs, lamps, and detectors) are analyzed and also medical applications like photodynamic cancer therapy are taken up.
The third part deals with nano-particles in ZnO for sun screening. Skin cancer due to the exposure from the sun can be prevented by ZnO particles in a paste put on the exposed skin.