Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

The crystal's corners: New nanowire structure has potential to increase semiconductor applications

24.04.2013
University of Cincinnati research describes discovery of a new structure that is a fundamental game changer in the physics of semiconductor nanowires.

There’s big news in the world of tiny things.

New research led by University of Cincinnati physics professors Howard Jackson and Leigh Smith could contribute to better ways of harnessing solar energy, more effective air quality sensors or even stronger security measures against biological weapons such as anthrax. And it all starts with something that’s 1,000 times thinner than the typical human hair – a semiconductor nanowire.

UC’s Jackson, Smith, recently graduated PhD student Melodie Fickenscher and physics doctoral student Teng Shi, as well as several colleagues from across the US and around the world recently have published the research paper “Optical, Structural and Numerical Investigations of GaAs/AlGaAs Core-Multishell Nanowire Quantum Well Tubes” in Nano Letters, a premier journal on nanoscience and nanotechnology published by the American Chemical Society. In the paper, the team reports that they’ve discovered a new structure in a semiconductor nanowire with unique properties.

“This kind of structure in the gallium arsenide/aluminum gallium arsenide system had not been achieved before,” Jackson says. “It’s new in terms of where you find the electrons and holes, and spatially it’s a new structure.”

EYES ON SIZE AND CORNERING ELECTRONS

These little structures could have a big effect on a variety of technologies. Semiconductors are at the center of modern electronics. Computers, TVs and cellphones have them. They’re made from the crystalline form of elements that have scientifically beneficial electrical conductivity properties. Many semiconductors are made of silicon, but in this case they are made of gallium arsenide. And while widespread use of these thin nanowires in new devices might still be around the corner, the key to making that outcome a reality in the coming years is what’s in the corner.

By using a thin shell called a quantum well tube and growing it – to about 4 nanometers thick – around the nanowire core, the researchers found electrons within the nanowire were distributed in an unusual way in relation to the facets of the hexagonal tube. A close look at the corners of the tube’s facets revealed something unexpected – a high concentration of ground state electrons and holes.

“Having the faceting really matters. It changes the ballgame,” Jackson says. “Adjusting the quantum well tube width allows you to control the energy – which would have been expected – but in addition we have found that there’s a highly localized ground state at the corners which then can give rise to true quantum nanowires.”

The nanowires the team uses for its research are grown at the Australian National University in Canberra, Australia – one partner in this project that extends to disparate parts of the globe.

AFFECTING THE SCIENCE OF SMALL IN A BIG WAY

The team’s discovery opens a new door to further study of the fundamental physics of semiconductor nanowires. As for leading to advances in technology such as photovoltaic cells, Jackson says it’s too soon to tell because quantum nanowires are just now being explored. But in a world where hundreds of dollars’ worth of technology is packed into a 5-by-2.5 inch iPhone, it’s not hard to see how small but powerful science comes at a premium.

The team at UC is one of only about a half dozen in the US conducting competitive research in the field. It’s a relatively young discipline, too, Jackson says, and one that’s moving fast. For such innovative science, he says it’s important to have a collaborative effort. The team includes scientists from research centers in the Midwest, the West Coast and all the way Down Under: UC, Miami University of Ohio and Sandia National Laboratories in California here in the US; and Monash University and the Australian National University in Australia.

The team’s efforts are another example of how UC not only stands out as a leader in top-notch science, but also in shaping the future of the discipline by providing its students with high-quality educational and research opportunities.

“We’re training students in state-of-the-art techniques on state-of-the-art materials doing state-of-the-art physics,” Jackson says. “Upon completing their education here, they’re positioned to go out and make contributions of their own.”

Additional contributors to the paper are Jan Yarrison-Rice of Miami University, Oxford, Ohio; Bryan Wong of Sandia National Laboratories, Livermore, Calif.; Changlin Zheng, Peter Miller and Joanne Etheridge of Monash University, Victoria, Australia; and Qiang Gao, Shriniwas Deshpande, Hark Hoe Tan and Chennupati Jagadish of the Australian National University, Canberra, Australia.

Tom Robinette | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.uc.edu
http://www.uc.edu/news/NR.aspx?id=17755

Further reports about: Canberra gallium arsenide photovoltaic cell quantum nanowires

More articles from Materials Sciences:

nachricht Beyond conventional solution-process for 2-D heterostructure
22.06.2018 | Science China Press

nachricht Graphene assembled film shows higher thermal conductivity than graphite film
22.06.2018 | Chalmers University of Technology

All articles from Materials Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Temperature-controlled fiber-optic light source with liquid core

In a recent publication in the renowned journal Optica, scientists of Leibniz-Institute of Photonic Technology (Leibniz IPHT) in Jena showed that they can accurately control the optical properties of liquid-core fiber lasers and therefore their spectral band width by temperature and pressure tuning.

Already last year, the researchers provided experimental proof of a new dynamic of hybrid solitons– temporally and spectrally stationary light waves resulting...

Im Focus: Overdosing on Calcium

Nano crystals impact stem cell fate during bone formation

Scientists from the University of Freiburg and the University of Basel identified a master regulator for bone regeneration. Prasad Shastri, Professor of...

Im Focus: AchemAsia 2019 will take place in Shanghai

Moving into its fourth decade, AchemAsia is setting out for new horizons: The International Expo and Innovation Forum for Sustainable Chemical Production will take place from 21-23 May 2019 in Shanghai, China. With an updated event profile, the eleventh edition focusses on topics that are especially relevant for the Chinese process industry, putting a strong emphasis on sustainability and innovation.

Founded in 1989 as a spin-off of ACHEMA to cater to the needs of China’s then developing industry, AchemAsia has since grown into a platform where the latest...

Im Focus: First real-time test of Li-Fi utilization for the industrial Internet of Things

The BMBF-funded OWICELLS project was successfully completed with a final presentation at the BMW plant in Munich. The presentation demonstrated a Li-Fi communication with a mobile robot, while the robot carried out usual production processes (welding, moving and testing parts) in a 5x5m² production cell. The robust, optical wireless transmission is based on spatial diversity; in other words, data is sent and received simultaneously by several LEDs and several photodiodes. The system can transmit data at more than 100 Mbit/s and five milliseconds latency.

Modern production technologies in the automobile industry must become more flexible in order to fulfil individual customer requirements.

Im Focus: Sharp images with flexible fibers

An international team of scientists has discovered a new way to transfer image information through multimodal fibers with almost no distortion - even if the fiber is bent. The results of the study, to which scientist from the Leibniz-Institute of Photonic Technology Jena (Leibniz IPHT) contributed, were published on 6thJune in the highly-cited journal Physical Review Letters.

Endoscopes allow doctors to see into a patient’s body like through a keyhole. Typically, the images are transmitted via a bundle of several hundreds of optical...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Munich conference on asteroid detection, tracking and defense

13.06.2018 | Event News

2nd International Baltic Earth Conference in Denmark: “The Baltic Sea region in Transition”

08.06.2018 | Event News

ISEKI_Food 2018: Conference with Holistic View of Food Production

05.06.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Graphene assembled film shows higher thermal conductivity than graphite film

22.06.2018 | Materials Sciences

Fast rising bedrock below West Antarctica reveals an extremely fluid Earth mantle

22.06.2018 | Earth Sciences

Zebrafish's near 360 degree UV-vision knocks stripes off Google Street View

22.06.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>