Use of sensitised transparent nanocrystalline metal oxide semiconductor films as photoanodes in regenerative photoelectrochemical cells has attracted considerable attention. Other reported applications for nanocrystalline metal oxide semiconductor films include prototype lithium insertion batteries and electrochromic windows. In addition applications in the areas of photosynthesis and photodegradation of organic materials are also foreseen. In short, nanocrystalline metal oxide semiconductor films are increasing in technological importance.
Consequently significant effort is being directed towards the development of improved methods of preparation and characterisation of nanocrystalline metal oxide semiconductor films. To-date, however, relatively little effort has been directed towards controlling the morphology of such films. Specifically, while significant progress in characterising the porosity, thickness and distribution of adsorbates within such films has been reported, active control of the above has yet to be achieved. Proposed here is a programme of research leading to the preparation of transparent nanocrystallline metal oxide semiconductor films possessing a desired morphology. Specifically, efforts will be directed towards development of methods which can be used to prepare one, two and three dimensional supported and unsupported nanocrystalline films with varying degrees of ordering.
Much of the subsequent applied research is preformed in collaboration with industrial partners and is ultimately directed at developing prototype solar energy conversion smart window and optical information storage tchnologies. Currently the host laboratory is laboratory is collaborating with Donnelly mirrors (Ireland) Ltd. and Hewlett-Packard ( Ireland ) Ltd. in each of these areas. The proposed end use is aIso in accord with the stated technological objectives of the Joule-Thermie and Brite-Euram programmes.