Long nanowires with controlled orientation grown on sapphire

In an advance that they hope will lead to semiconductor nanostructures suitable for a wide range of applications, researchers in the Weizmann Institute’s Chemistry Faculty have published in Science (abstract) the growth of millimeter-long nanowires of gallium nitride oriented on different crystal planes of sapphire. They found that the growth, orientation, and facets of the nanowires are controlled by the crystal planes of the sapphire substrate used. The nanowires produced exhibit encouraging electronic and optical properties. Thanks to PhysOrg.com for pointing to this Weizzman press release “Nanowires Get into the Groove“:

… With no support or guidance, nanowires become unruly, making it difficult to harness their full potential as effective semiconductors. Prof. Ernesto Joselevich of the Weizmann Institute’s Chemistry Faculty has found a way to grow semiconductor nanowires out, not up, on a surface, providing, for the first time, the much-needed guidance to produce relatively long, orderly, aligned structures. Since semiconductors with controlled structures are at the core of the most advanced technologies, this new research will hopefully enable the production of semiconductor nanostructures with enhanced electronic and optical properties, suitable for a wide range of applications including LEDs, lasers, information storage media, transistors, computers, photovoltaics and more. …

The next question is how to assemble these well-structured nanowires into useful devices.

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