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A nanocrystal is a crystalline material with dimensions measured in nanometers; a nanoparticle with a structure that is mostly crystalline. These materials are of huge technological interest since many of their electrical and thermodynamic properties show strong size dependence and can therefore be controlled through careful manufacturing processes. Nanocrystals are also of interest because they often provide single-domain crystalline systems that can be studied to provide information that can help explain the behaviour of macroscopic samples of similar materials, without the complicating presence of grain boundaries and other defects. Semiconductor nanocrystals in the sub-10nm size range are often referred to as quantum dots.
Nanocrystals made with zeolite are used as a filter to turn crude oil onto diesel fuel at an ExxonMobil oil refinery in Louisiana, a method cheaper than the conventional way.
A layer of nanocrystals is used in a new type of solar panel named SolarPly made by Nanosolar. It is cheaper than other solar panels, more flexible, and claims 12% efficiency. (Conventionally inexpensive organic solar panels convert 9% of the sun's energy into electricity.) Crystal tetrapods 40 nanometers wide convert photons into electricity, but only have 3% efficiency. (Source: National Geographic June 2006)
|This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Nanocrystal". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.|