Reporting their results in the journal Nanotechnology, researchers from Louisiana Tech University and the University of Texas at Arlington, both in the US, have synthesized SWNT-CuS NP hybrid nanomaterial using a simple non-covalent chemical route. In the study, the team examined the photoresponse and thermoresponse of the hybrid nanomaterial compared with SWNT thin film under light illumination and thermal radiation. A prototype thermoelectric generator enabled by the SWNT-CuS NPs hybrid nanomaterial was also demonstrated as part of the work.

Asymmetric advantage

As well as offering enhanced optical absorption (up to 80%) compared with the pure SWNT thin film and clear optical and thermal switching characteristics, one of the most interesting features of the hybrid nanomaterial thin film is that both photocurrent and thermocurrent can be further enhanced up to 10× by asymmetric illumination of light and thermal radiation on the thin-film devices instead of symmetric illumination.

This observation indicates that the asymmetric illumination scheme can greatly improve the optical or thermal sensitivity of devices featuring the nanohybrid thin film and offers a new possible route to the design and optimization of solar or thermal energy cells.

More details can be found in the journal Nanotechnology.