Professors Cun-Zheng Ning and Alian Pan of Arizona State University (ASU) suggest the new materials could lead to more efficient photovoltaic (PV) cells for solar energy and improve LED light bulbs, already set to replace incandescent bulbs.
The research team alloyed two separate semiconductors, zinc sulphide and cadmium selenide.
As a result, the alloyed semiconductors produced variable bandgaps, which had not been achieved to date.
According to Professor Ning, the significance of the variable bandgaps could lead to significant developments in solar energy.
He said: "The lack of available bandgaps is one of the reasons current solar cell efficiency is low and why we do not have LED lighting colours that can be adjusted for various situations."
The researchers will now look to fabricate a "monolithic lateral super-cell" which could be optimised on any given wavelength.
Quaternary semiconductor nanowires are predicted to drastically improve the efficiency of PV cells while costing very little to incorporate into manufacturing.
This month, a UK solar energy expert claimed that PV cells would make it as affordable as non-renewable energy within three years.