The “nanoflowers” have only 20-30 nanometers thick petals, with a large surface area in a small amount of space. Assistant professor Dr. Linyou Cao, from North Carolina State University- one of the co-authors of the study, claims that such thin structures with large surface area could increase the capacity of lithium (Li)-ion batteries due to their ability to hold more Li ions. In addition, the semiconductor material – GeS could provide higher capacity for supercapacitors used for energy storage.
The flower was created by heating of GeS powder until it reaches its vaporizing point. The produced vapor is blown into a cooler region of the furnace so that it can settle and form layered sheets. The floral pattern that is similar to marigold or carnation is generated as more layers are added.
According to the paper published in ACS Nano journal, entitled “Role of Boundary Layer Diffusion in Vapor Deposition Growth of Chalcogenide Nanosheets: The Case of GeS,” the most important step in the process is to control the flow of the vapor, in order to spread out in layers, instead of forming clumps.
Moreover, the structure of the graphite-like GeS allows for absorption of solar energy and its conversion into usable power. This specific property of the material makes it a very attractive, inexpensive and non-toxic alternative for use in solar cells.