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January 2004
Paper in Nanotechnology describes new process

Scientists grow, connect nanowires in place --
More effective sensors possible


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Technical paper: Ultrahigh-density silicon nanobridges formed between two vertical surfaces

©Institute of Physics and IOP Publishing Limited, 2004

Scientists at HP Labs have devised a method of growing and connecting semiconductor nanowires in place, which could eventually lead the way to more effective sensors for detecting toxic gases and other chemical or biological substances.

In a paper in the accelerated Web version of the journal Nanotechnology (Vol. 15, No. 5) the scientists describe how they formed silicon nanowires between vertical silicon "walls." The wires start growing from one wall, extend across the space between walls, then attach firmly to the other wall to form strong mechanical connections.

The scientists -- Saif Islam, Shashank Sharma, Ted Kamins and Stan Williams -- say that by using large numbers of these "nanobridges" in parallel, they were able to obtain the high surface-to-volume ratio needed for sensors. Other potential applications include interconnecting "leads" in nanometer-scale electronic circuits and devices within nanowires (transistors, for example). This technology also provides a platform for molecular electronic devices.

In their paper, the researchers argue that HP Labs’ approach has several advantages over competing ones that have relied on carbon rather than silicon. Nanowires formed from silicon are more versatile and controllable than carbon nanotubes, and they are more easily integrated into conventional integrated-circuit processes.

The paper’s authors are all members of HP Labs’ widely recognized Quantum Science Research (QSR) group. In related work, QSR has achieved important results and been granted key patents in techniques that could make practical the fabrication of molecular-scale electronic devices.

Nanotechnology, published by the Institute of Physics Publishing, is the first journal dedicated to coverage of all aspects of nanoscale science and technology from a multidisciplinary perspective.

The paper is available here by permission of the publishers.

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Copyright © Institute of Physics and IOP Publishing Limited 2004. The Institute of Physics is a registered charity, No. 293851.
This paper appears here by permission of the publisher. Use is subject to compliance with the terms and conditions of use. In particular, reselling and systematic downloading of files is prohibited.


Related links

» Saif Islam bio
» Ted Kamins bio
» Stan Williams bio
» Quantum Science Research
» Nanotechnology

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Image of nanowires extending between two silicon surfaces to make a mechanically robust 'bridge.'

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