Researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have demonstrated a technique for growing well-formed, single-crystal nanowires in place---and in a predictable orientation---on a commercially important substrate.
The method uses nanoparticles of gold arranged in rows on a sapphire surface as starting points for growing horizontal semiconductor "wires" only 3 nanometers (nm) in diameter. Other methods produce semiconductor nanowires more than 10 nm in diameter. NIST chemists’ work was highlighted in the Oct. 11 issue of Applied Physics Letters.
Part of the vision of nanotechnology is the possibility of building powerful, extraordinarily compact sensors and other devices out of atomic-scale components. So-called "nanowires"---long thin crystals of, e.g., a semiconductor--- could not only link nanoelectronic devices like conventional wire but also function as devices themselves, tipped with photodetector or light-emitting elements, for example.
Michael Baum | EurekAlert!
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