Out of the fog: honeycomb films

Researchers are producing honeycomb-shaped films using an approach that mimics what happens when we breathe on a glass surface. The films have potential use in numerous applications, from tissue regeneration and bio-sensing to solar cells, explains an article in the journal “Science and Technology of Advanced Materials”. Water droplets condense when humid air is passed over certain substances mixed with solvents. They form a highly uniform, closely packed array and sink into the substance. When the solvent then evaporates, a porous, honeycomb-shaped film is formed. These honeycomb films have a wide range of potential applications depending on their individually unique properties. For example, peeling off a honeycomb film from a silicon wafer leads to the formation of nano-sized spikes on the wafer, making it ‘anti-reflective’; a property that could be used to improve the efficiency of solar cells. The films could also be used as scaffolding for tissue regeneration. Research is underway to develop biodegradable honeycomb films with properties that encourage the growth of specific types of cells and tissues.

Contact Hiroshi Yabu, Tohoku University, hiroshi.yabu.d5@tohoku.ac.jp

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