Wednesday, August 24, 2011

US Patent 8003551 - Surface activation of semiconductor nanostructures

Inorganic nanostructures are hydrophobic by nature and consequently not easily dissolved or suspended in aqueous solutions, rendering their use difficult in various applications. This patent from Spire Corporation teaches an activation method to render nanostructures more hydrophilic and thus reduce this problem. Claim 1 reads:

1. A method for generating a plurality of nanoparticles comprising:

forming a porous semiconductor layer on a substrate, said porous layer including a plurality of semiconductor nanostructure elements;

cleaving said nanostructure elements to generate a plurality of nanoparticles; and

activating at least a portion of a surface of the nanoparticles;

wherein the step of generating a porous semiconductor layer comprises subjecting a silicon susbtrate to reactive ion etching.