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Aerosol-based method utilised for growing nanowires

Posted: 04 Dec 2012 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:aerotaxy? nanowires? low-cost fabrication?

Researchers from Lund University revealed a new method of manufacturing the smallest structures in electronics, which could potentially reduce the cost of producing high-quality nanowires and enable the low-cost fabrication of nanowire-based devices on an industrial scale.

Instead of starting from a silicon wafer or other substrate the researchers have made it possible for the structures to grow from freely suspended nanoparticles of gold in a flowing gas.

Behind the discovery is Lars Samuelson, professor of Semiconductor Physics at the Swedish university and head of its Nanometre Structure Consortium. Samuelson believes the technology will be ready for commercialisation in two to four years' time. A prototype for solar cells is expected to be completed in two years.

"When I first suggested the idea of getting rid of the substrate, people around me said 'you're out of your mind, Lars; that would never work'. When we tested the principle in one of our converted ovens at 400C, the results were better than we could have dreamt of", explained Samuelson. "The basic idea was to let nanoparticles of gold serve as a substrate from which the semiconductors grow. This means that the accepted concepts really were turned upside down."

Since then, the technology has been refined, patents have been obtained and further studies have been conducted. The researchers show how the growth can be controlled using temperature, time and the size of the gold nanoparticles.

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