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Wishing to the Dandelions!
Luisa Whittaker (postdoc) and Yueh-Lin "Lynn" Loo (fac)
Dept. of Chemical and Biological Engineering
This looks like a dandelion but it is not.

Hybrid inorganic/polymer-based photovoltaic nanodevices offer the promise of low-cost large-area conversion of solar energy to electricity. Nanostructures of zinc oxide have shown supreme capabilities in emerging technologies ranging from solar energy harvesting to biosensing. However, the ability to control the size and position of these nanostructures is crucial for fabricating nanodevices with remarkable properties and astonishing solar energy conversion efficiencies.

Here we superimposed two scanning electron micrographs of zinc oxide nanostructures prepared by low temperature hydrothermal methods. We were trying to grow nanoarrays but they did not come out right because of surface contamination. We were suprised to see dandelions rather than vertically oriented nanoarrays.

Ultimately we were able to manufacture nanoarrays with the ideal configuration. However, they are much less visually interesting than this.