Sigma-Aldrich (Nasdaq: SIAL) today announced a distribution agreement with Nanosys, Inc., an advanced materials architect. Under the agreement, Sigma-Aldrich, through its Aldrich Materials Science business, is now distributing Nanosys-created silicon nanowires to the global scientific research community for the development of new applications in technologies such as solid-state lighting, electronics and energy storage.
"As Aldrich Materials Science continues to expand its nanomaterials offer, we are pleased to introduce an innovative line of silicon nanowires that includes undoped silicon nanowires as well as the higher conductivity, boron-doped nanowires," said Dr. Kaushik Patel, Product Manager, Aldrich Materials Science. "The applications of these nanowires are, we believe, truly innovative and revolutionary. The fabrication of nanowires is challenging; therefore, a consistent and high-quality supply of these materials from Aldrich Materials Science is expected to enable scientists to accelerate their research to further develop a variety of new high-technology applications that can continue to open up exciting end product markets. In all aspects of the Aldrich Materials Science business, from manufacturing and custom R&D to distribution of materials from leading-edge technology companies such as Nanosys, we strive to fulfill our mission of focusing on materials so that our research customers can focus on results."
"Architected and synthesized at the atomic level, our materials deliver exponential improvements in efficiency and performance," added Jason Hartlove, CEO of Nanosys. "This new distribution agreement with Sigma-Aldrich puts our technology directly into the hands of researchers who are doing exciting work in labs around the world, driving the use of architected material solutions in a new generation of markets and applications."
Nanosys silicon nanowires, which demonstrate semiconductor properties, are comprised of single crystal silicon grown using the vapor liquid solid (VLS) process to a diameter of 150 nm and a length of 20 micrometer. The materials are available undoped or as activated boron-doped p-type silicon nanowires with 1x10(19) /cm(3) doping at ends and a 3 micrometer intrinsic region in the center of the wire. Polydispersed silicon nanowires of various lengths that are designed for use in energy research are also expected to be available beginning January 2011.
Across an increasingly diverse range of applications, silicon nanowires can deliver tangible benefits and significant advances. Examples include:
- Electronics applications - sensors can be constructed from nanowire arrays that act as a highly sensitive 'e-skin' which could be used to restore the sense of touch to patients with prosthetic limbs or to enable robotic systems to 'sense' pressure.
- Solar cells - Research conducted earlier in 2010 found that fabricating thin films from ordered arrays of vertical silicon nanowires significantly increased the light-trapping properties in solar cells, compared to conventional silicon thin film photovoltaics.
- Batteries – Nanowire technology is enabling the production of batteries that are more economical, longer lasting, smaller and more environmentally friendly. Nanowires are used to increase the surface area for electrolyte reaction, thereby enabling greater power in a smaller overall footprint.