Creation of Nanowires Three Atoms Wide A Breakthrough for Electrical Circuits

Vanderbilt University doctorate student Junhao Lin has discovered a way to use a finely focused beam of electrons to create flexible metallic wires that are only three atoms wide - one thousandth the width of the microscopic wires used to connect the transistors in today's integrated circuits, and some of the smallest wires ever made. The discovery gives a boost to efforts aimed at creating electrical circuits on monolayered materials, raising the possibility of flexible, paper-thin tablets and television displays. Lin made the tiny wires from a special family of semiconducting materials that naturally form monolayers. These materials, called transition-metal dichalcogenides (TMDCs), are made by combining the metals molybdenum or tungsten with either sulfur or selenium. The best-known member of the family is molybdenum disulfide, a common mineral that is used as a solid lubricant.