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Title: Final Report: DOE Award Number: DE-SC0006398, University of CA, San Diego

The focus of the proposed research is to direct the assembly of single or binary nanoparticles into meso- or macroscale three-dimensional crystals of any desired configuration and crystallographic orientation without using prohibitively expensive lithographic processes. The epitaxial nucleation of defect-free, surface-bound bulk single crystals will revolutionize technologies for energy to generate new types of solar cells that yield maximum conversion efficiencies. It has been proposed that having a nanostructured bulk hetero-interface will enable efficient charge-carrier separations, similar to organic based heterojunction cells but with potential improvements, including thermal and long-term stability, tunability of energy levels, large adsorption coefficients and carrier multiplication. However, engineering such devices requires nanoscale control and ordering in both 2- and 3-dimensions over macroscopic areas and this has yet to be achieved. In Nature, bulk organic and inorganic materials are arranged into precise and ordered programmed assemblies through the sequestration of raw materials into confined spaces and association through highly specific non-covalent interactions between biomolecules. Using similar strategies, the proposed research will focus on confining metal and semiconductor nanocrystals to pre-determined surface patterns and controlling their arrangement through tunable, orthogonal biomolecular binding. Once a perfect two-dimensional seed layer has been constructed, successive layers of single nanocrystals willmore » be nucleated epitaxially with long-range order and tunable crystallographic orientations. The proposed research exploits the ability of biomolecules to bind specific targets in a tunable, orthogonal, multivalent, and reversible manner to the arrangements of DNA-nanoparticle conjugates on chemically defined surfaces. Through careful balance of the attractive and repulsive forces between the particles, the array, and the outside surface, it is envisioned that single or mixed nanoparticles can be packed to adopt uniform crystal orientation in two and three dimensions from simple mixing and annealing of biomolecule-nanoparticle conjugates with biomolecule-stamped surfaces. To control the crystallographic alignment of each particle with its neighbors, the nanoparticles will be assembled using a mixture of non-covalent biomolecular interactions. To create solar cells in which layers of donor and acceptor nanocrystals that are not only oriented normal to the top and bottom electrodes but are also arranged in a checkerboard pattern, multicomponent nanocrystals (e.g. CdSe, CdTe) will be conjugated with biochemical linkers such that only interactions between the CdTe and CdSe promote particle packing within the array. The proposed research will: (1) elucidate the role of single and binary cooperative particle-DNA interactions in influencing nanoparticle crystallographic orientation in two and three dimensions; (2) understand how confinement of nanoparticles on patterned arrays of biomolecules and modification of the surrounding substrate can nucleate long-range order over macroscopic areas via predefined grain boundaries; and (3) synthesize and characterize DNA conjugated semiconductor nanocrystals and assemble them into 2- and 3-D binary superlattice arrays for photovoltaics.« less
  1. Univ. of California, San Diego, CA (United States)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
Report Number(s):
DOE Contract Number:
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Research Org:
Univ. of California, San Diego, CA (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Science (SC)
Country of Publication:
United States