A technique for inducing nanorods – rod-shaped semiconductor nanocrystals – to self-assemble into one-, two-, and three-dimensional macroscopic structures will enable more effective use of nanorods in solar cells, magnetic storage devices, and sensors. The development should also help boost the electrical and mechanical properties of nanorod-polymer composites.

The method can produce ordered arrays of nanorods that are macroscopically aligned with tunable distances between individual rods – a morphology that lends itself to the production of plasmonics, which are materials that hold great promise for superfast computers, ultra-powerful optical microscopes, and even the creation of invisibility carpets. It is also a straightforward nanoparticle self-assembly technique that can produce a continuous network of nanorods with nanoscopic separation distances. Such networks can enhance the macroscopic properties of nanocomposites, including electrical conductivity and material strength.

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