Cornell chemists have developed a way to make porous metal films with up to 1,000 times the electrical conductivity offered by previous methods. Their technique opens the door to creating a wide variety of metal nanostructures for engineering and biomedical applications.

The new method builds on the "sol-gel process," already familiar to chemists. Certain compounds of silicon mixed with solvents will self-assemble into a structure of silicon dioxide (i.e., glass) honeycombed with nanometer-scaled pores.

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Learn about metal-assisted chemical etching.