Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Nanowire film brings cheaper, faster electronics a step closer

07.11.2003


Researchers at Harvard University have demonstrated for the first time that they can easily apply a film of tiny, high-performance silicon nanowires to glass and plastic, a development that could pave the way for the next generation of cheaper, lighter and more powerful consumer electronics. The development could lead to such futuristic products as disposable computers and optical displays that can be worn in your clothes or contact lenses, they say.



Their research appears in the November issue of Nano Letters, a peer-reviewed publication of the American Chemical Society, the world’s largest scientific society.

While amorphous silicon and polycrystalline silicon are considered the current state of the art material for making electronic components such as computer chips and LCDs, silicon nanowires, a recent development, are considered even better at carrying an electrical charge, the researchers say. Although a single nanowire is one thousand times smaller than the width of a human hair, it can carry information up to 100 times faster than similar components used in current consumer electronic products, they add.


Scientists have already demonstrated that these tiny wires have the ability to serve as components of highly efficient computer chips and can emit light for brilliant multicolor optical displays. But they have had difficulty until now in applying these nanowires to everyday consumer products, says Charles M. Lieber, Ph.D., head of the research project and a professor of chemistry at Harvard.

"As with conventional high-quality semi-conducting materials, the growth of high-quality nanowires requires relatively high temperature," explains Lieber. "This temperature requirement has - up until now - limited the quality of electronics on plastics, which melt at such growth temperatures."

"By using a ’bottom-up’ approach pioneered by our group, which involves assembly of pre-formed nanoscale building blocks into functional devices, we can apply a film of nanowires to glass or plastics long after growth, and do so at room temperature," says Lieber.

Using a liquid solution of the silicon nanowires, the researchers have demonstrated that they can deposit the silicon onto glass or plastic surfaces — similar to applying the ink of a laser printer to a piece of paper — to make functional nanowire devices.

They also showed that nanowires applied to plastic can be bent or deformed into various shapes without hurting performance, a plus for making consumer electronics more durable.

According to Lieber, the first devices made with this new nanowire technology will probably improve on existing devices such as smart cards and LCD displays, which utilize conventional amorphous silicon and organic semiconductors that are comparatively slow and are already approaching their technological limitations.

Within the next decade, consumers could see more exotic applications of this nanotechnology, Lieber says. "One could imagine, for instance, contact lenses with displays and miniature computers on them, so that you can experience a virtual tour of a new city as you walk around wearing them on your eyes, or alternatively harness this power to create a vision system that enables someone who has impaired vision or is blind to ’see’."

The military should also find practical use for this technology, says Lieber. One problem soldiers encounter is the tremendous weight — up to 100 pounds — that they carry in personal equipment, including electronic devices. "The light weight and durability of our plastic nanowire electronics could allow for advanced displays on robust, shock-resistant plastic that can withstand significant punishment while minimizing the weight a soldier carries," he says.

Many challenges still lie ahead, such as configuring the wires for optimal performance and applying the wires over more diverse surfaces and larger areas, the researcher says.

Lieber recently helped start a company, NanoSys, Inc., that is now developing nanowire technology and other nanotechnology products.

Michael Bernstein | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.acs.org

More articles from Power and Electrical Engineering:

nachricht Supersonic waves may help electronics beat the heat
18.05.2018 | DOE/Oak Ridge National Laboratory

nachricht Researchers control the properties of graphene transistors using pressure
17.05.2018 | Columbia University

All articles from Power and Electrical Engineering >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: LZH showcases laser material processing of tomorrow at the LASYS 2018

At the LASYS 2018, from June 5th to 7th, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) will be showcasing processes for the laser material processing of tomorrow in hall 4 at stand 4E75. With blown bomb shells the LZH will present first results of a research project on civil security.

At this year's LASYS, the LZH will exhibit light-based processes such as cutting, welding, ablation and structuring as well as additive manufacturing for...

Im Focus: Self-illuminating pixels for a new display generation

There are videos on the internet that can make one marvel at technology. For example, a smartphone is casually bent around the arm or a thin-film display is rolled in all directions and with almost every diameter. From the user's point of view, this looks fantastic. From a professional point of view, however, the question arises: Is that already possible?

At Display Week 2018, scientists from the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Polymer Research IAP will be demonstrating today’s technological possibilities and...

Im Focus: Explanation for puzzling quantum oscillations has been found

So-called quantum many-body scars allow quantum systems to stay out of equilibrium much longer, explaining experiment | Study published in Nature Physics

Recently, researchers from Harvard and MIT succeeded in trapping a record 53 atoms and individually controlling their quantum state, realizing what is called a...

Im Focus: Dozens of binaries from Milky Way's globular clusters could be detectable by LISA

Next-generation gravitational wave detector in space will complement LIGO on Earth

The historic first detection of gravitational waves from colliding black holes far outside our galaxy opened a new window to understanding the universe. A...

Im Focus: Entangled atoms shine in unison

A team led by Austrian experimental physicist Rainer Blatt has succeeded in characterizing the quantum entanglement of two spatially separated atoms by observing their light emission. This fundamental demonstration could lead to the development of highly sensitive optical gradiometers for the precise measurement of the gravitational field or the earth's magnetic field.

The age of quantum technology has long been heralded. Decades of research into the quantum world have led to the development of methods that make it possible...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Save the date: Forum European Neuroscience – 07-11 July 2018 in Berlin, Germany

02.05.2018 | Event News

Invitation to the upcoming "Current Topics in Bioinformatics: Big Data in Genomics and Medicine"

13.04.2018 | Event News

Unique scope of UV LED technologies and applications presented in Berlin: ICULTA-2018

12.04.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Research reveals how order first appears in liquid crystals

23.05.2018 | Life Sciences

Space-like gravity weakens biochemical signals in muscle formation

23.05.2018 | Life Sciences

NIST puts the optical microscope under the microscope to achieve atomic accuracy

23.05.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>