Nano-networks of Quantum Dots in Glasses: From Self-assembly to Energy Conversion and Hydrogen Storage
The main goal of the project is to investigate the capabilities of the recently developed materials based on self-assembled quantum dots organized as nano-networks in glass matrices for application in energy-conversion and Hydrogen-storage devices. Two new self-assembly processes of Ge quantum dots in dielectric amorphous matrices and consequently novel material types have been discovered recently by our group. We have performed intensive investigation of their structural properties since then, and we had found that they appear in many different shapes, internal structures and ordering types. One material can store large amounts of Hydrogen. However, only properties of Ge and SiGe quantum dots have been investigated, while all other materials and their properties are completely unknown. These materials are theoretically very suitable for applications, especially in photo-electric conversion and energy storage, so the investigations of their properties related to the applications are also very important. We intend to form a group which will be excellent in production, characterization and application of these materials. Precisely, we intend to (i) further investigate the observed self-assembly processes and develop new material types with interesting or extraordinary structural properties; (ii) determine the basic optical and electrical properties of these materials and (iii) produce simple devices based on these materials for energy conversion and storage. We expect preparation of new, applicative materials with exceptional properties, observation of unusual effects caused by specific structure, and preparation of efficient thin-film coatings for conversion and storage of Sun energy. These results could be of great relevance for the production of super-efficient energy-converting window glasses, as the method that we use for the preparation (magnetron sputtering deposition), is a standard technique for production of window coatings and low-emissivity glasses.