Interface Engineering of Graphene for Nanowire Growth

Technology #15789

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Professor Silvja Gradecak
Department of Materials Science and Engineering, MIT
Professor Jing Kong
Department of Electrical Engineering & Computer Science, MIT
Sehoon Chang
Department of Materials Science and Engineering, MIT
Hyesung Park
Research Laboratory of Electronics
Managed By
Christopher Noble
MIT Technology Licensing Officer - Clean and Renewable Energy
Patent Protection

Nanowire-modified graphene and methods of making and using same

PCT Patent Application WO 2014-082061

Nanowire-modified graphene and methods of making and using same

US Patent Pending US 2015-0311363
Graphene Cathode-Based ZnO Nanowire Hybrid Solar Cells
Nano Letters,


Optoelectronic devices and solar cells

Problem Addressed

Obtaining an effective interface between nanowires and graphene while maintaining the advantages of each component is a challenge in the development of flexible optoelectronic devices using these materials.


This invention encompasses a nondestructive and substrate-independent  method for growing high-quality ZnO nanowires on graphene and graphene cathode-based hybrid solar cells using two different photoactive materials, PbS quantum dots and the conjugated polymer P3HT. Highly uniform, well-aligned ZnO nanowire arrays are grown on graphene via a hydrothermal method. This growth is enabled by a simple interfacial polymer treatment that facilitates conformal, smooth wetting of the ZnO seed layer and subsequent ordered nanowire growth.

Graphene cathode-based hybrid solar cells can be fabricated using PbS quantum dots and P3HT as p-type hole-transporting donor materials and the ZnO nanowires as electron-transporting channels to the cathode. The as-grown graphene/ZnO nanowire structure is well-suited for an inverted device geometry, which offers improved stability over conventional ITO anode-based geometries.


  • Nanowire growth method preserves unique properties of graphene
  • Graphene cathode-based cells hybrid solar cells efficiencies can approach similar performance of ITO-based with similar architectures