When grown on a substrate of lithium aluminum oxide, gallium nitride nanowires are triangular in cross section.
The cross section of gallium nitride nanowires grown on a magnesium oxide substrate is hexagonal. Although compositionally identical, the electronic properties of nanowires differ with different crystal orientations.
A significant breakthrough in the development of the highly prized semiconductor gallium nitride as a building block for nanotechnology has been achieved by a team of scientists with the U.S. Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) and the University of California at Berkeley.
For the first time ever, the researchers have been able control the direction in which a gallium nitride nanowire grows. Growth direction is critical to determining the wire’s electrical and thermal conductivity and other important properties.
"Our results will come as a surprise to those who have said that growth direction can’t be controlled, that you get what you get when you grow semiconductor nanowires," says Peidong Yang, a chemist with Berkeley Lab’s Materials Sciences Division and a professor with UC Berkeley’s Chemistry Department, who led the research.
Lynn Yarris | EurekAlert!
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