Those scientists working with tiny components in nanoelectronics say that the nano-components are so small that arranging them with external tools is impossible. Their only solution is to create the proper conditions for them to assemble themselves. Previously, researchers had developed methods for growing semiconductor nanowires vertically on a surface, but the structures were short and disorganized. After growing, these nanowires must be "harvested" and aligned horizontally so that they can be integrated into electric circuits.
A team of scientists in the Materials and Interfaces Department at the Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel, say that they have overcome these limitations. For the first time, they have created self-integrating nanowires whose position, length, and direction can be fully controlled.
The achievement, reported in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, explains that the scientists have created self-integrated electronic circuits from the nanowires. First, they prepared a surface with tiny, atom-sized grooves and then added catalyst particles to the middle of the grooves that served as nuclei for the growth of nanowires. This setup defined the position, length, and direction of the nanowires. They then created a transistor from each nanowire on the surface, producing hundreds of transistors simultaneously. The nanowires were also used to create a more complex electronic component—a functioning logic circuit called an Address Decoder, which is an essential constituent of computers.
This method makes it possible, for the first time, to determine the arrangement of the nanowires in advance to suit the desired electronic circuit, they said. The ability to efficiently produce circuits from self-integrating semiconductors opens the door to a variety of technological applications, including the development of improved LED devices, lasers, and solar cells.