Semiconducting Nanowire-Based Optoelectronic Fibers

he recent ability to integrate semiconductor-based optoelectronic functionalities within thin fibers is opening intriguing opportunities for flexible electronics and advanced textiles. The scalable integration of high-quality semiconducting devices within functional fibers however remains a challenge. It is difficult with current strategies to combine high light absorption, good microstructure and efficient electrical contact. The growth of semiconducting nanowires is a great tool to control crystal orientation and ensure a combination of light absorption and charge extraction for efficient photodetection. Thus far, however, leveraging the attributes of nanowires has remained seemingly incompatible with fiber materials, geometry, and processing approaches. Here, the integration of semiconducting nanowire-based devices at the tip and along the length of polymer fibers is demonstrated for the first time. The scalable thermal drawing process is combined with a simple sonochemical treatment to grow nanowires out of electrically addressed amorphous selenium domains. First principles density-functional theory calculations show that this approach enables to tailor the surface energy of crystal facets and favors nanowire growth along a preferred orientation, resulting in fiber-integrated devices of unprecedented performance. This novel platform is exploited to demonstrate an all-fiber-integrated fluorescence imaging system, highlighting novel opportunities in sensing, advanced optical probes, and smart textiles.

Published in:
Advanced Materials, 29, 27, 1700681

 Record created 2017-07-20, last modified 2019-06-15

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