Researchers from the Oregon Health and
Science University and Sharp Laboratories of America have found a way
to grow nanowires between pairs of metal electrodes deposited on silicon
The process is a step toward a new way to make smaller, faster
The researchers used an electric field to direct the growth of
silicon nanowires between specific electrodes, and used electrodes that
have sharp points to ensure that the nanowires and electrodes are in good
contact with each other.
The researchers found that they could grow thinner diameter nanowires
at lower temperatures, and they could vary the density of the nanowires
by changing the pressure at which they were grown. The researchers were
able to produce uniform nanowires with diameters of 17 nanometers, which
is 5,000 times narrower than a human hair.
The method could someday be used to fabricate millions of silicon
nanowire devices like transistors in place on a chip.
The researchers are now testing the electrical properties of the
nanowires. Several challenges must be met to make the process practical,
including making practical contacts, finding the best composition for
the nanowires, and handling the effects of surface impurities, according
to the researchers.
In a similar demonstration in 2002, Stanford University researchers
showed that it was possible to grow carbon nanotubes between electrodes.
The nanowire work appeared in the February 23, 2004 issue of Applied
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