RESEARCH
June 30, 2008

Enzyme cranks out cheap semiconductor

Zinc oxide, a relatively inexpensive semiconductor material used in some solar cells, could become even less expensive thanks to a room-temperature chemical process for producing zinc oxide nanocrystals.

Adding urease, an enzyme found in plants and bacteria, to a solution of zinc nitrate causes zinc oxide crystals to form nanoscale shells around urease molecules.

Cheap zinc oxide could also lower the cost of light-emitting diodes, which are the main components of energy-efficient solid-state lights.

Research paper:
Urease as a Nanoreactor for Growing Crystalline ZnO Nanoshells at Room Temperature
Angewandte Chemie International Edition, published online June 9, 2008

Researcher's homepage:
Hiroshi Matsui

Related stories and briefs:
Chemists grow nano menagerie
Silica to silicon


Back to ERN June 30, 2008

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