Research Highlight

Nanostructures for harnessing solar energy

doi:10.1038/nindia.2014.27 Published online 24 February 2014

Researchers have synthesized films of various nanostructures of the photosensitive material cadmium sulphide, which can be used for fabricating electronic devices, such as solar cells and flat-panel displays1 .

One-dimensional nanostructures are promising for potential applications in optoelectronic devices, including photovoltaic cells and light-emitting diodes. One such class of nanostructures is made using cadmium sulphide, which is highly photosensitive, making it a valuable material for photovoltaic applications. However, existing techniques for producing cadmium-sulphide-based nanostructures are expensive and tedious.

To devise a simple and low-cost technique for making cadmium-sulphide-based nanostructures, the researchers synthesized films of three different types of cadmium sulphide nanostructures using three combinations of chemicals: triethylamine alone, a mixture of triethylamine and ammonia, and a mixture of triethylamine, ammonia and tin chloride.

The use of triethylamine alone produced seaweed-like nanostructures, whereas a mixture of triethylamine and ammonia resulted in the synthesis of nanostructures that resembled coral. Finally, the combination of triethylamine, ammonia and tin chloride yielded honeycomb-like nanostructures.

The researchers investigated the ability of the nanostructure films to absorb radiation at wavelengths between 800 nm and 350 nm. Films of the seaweed-like nanostructures exhibited the lowest absorption of the three structures, whereas films of the honeycomb-like nanostructures showed the highest absorption. On increasing the incident photon energy, the seaweed-like and honeycomb-like nanostructures showed a sharp absorption, whereas the coral-like nanostructures exhibited a shallow absorption.

"The cadmium-sulphide-based nanostructures will be useful for developing solar cells and other optoelectronic devices," says E. Manikandan, a senior author of the study.


  1. Wilson, K. C. et al. Biological resemblance of cadmium sulphide seaweeds coral honeycomb nanostructures by a chemical bath deposition technique. Mater. Lett. 120, 295-298 (2014) | Article |