Synopsis: Groovy nanowires

A molecular network on a copper surface serves as a template for growing nanowires of uniform size from a range of metals.
Synopsis figure
Illustration: X.-D. Ma et al., Phys. Rev. Lett. (2009)

Nanowires—atomic chains one or a few atoms thick—are excellent candidates for nanoelectronics and a host of other applications, but first the fabrication process for making them must be reliable and reproducible. The growth of a nanowire on a substrate is highly sensitive to the chemistry of the elements involved, with different growth materials yielding different types of nanowires and in some cases no wire at all. Overcoming these effects would yield better control over the nanowire formation process.

In an article appearing in Physical Review Letters, Xiaodong Ma and colleagues at the Max-Planck-Institut in Halle, Germany, and collaborators elsewhere in Germany and in Japan have used Molecular Beam Epitaxy to grow iron, palladium, and gold nanowires on a corrugated molecular network of Cu3N on the (110) surface of copper. The Cu3N network guides the occupation of atoms on the copper surface, creating nanowires of identical structure in the grooves of the network. The resultant nanowires have uniform width, height, and orientation, regardless of which elements the group uses. The nanowires form in the grooves of the network. Because the Fe atom occupation is asymmetric at the crests, the nanowires exhibit a minimum separation. – Daniel Ucko


More Announcements »

Subject Areas


Previous Synopsis

Related Articles

Synopsis: Taking Pictures with Single Ions
Atomic and Molecular Physics

Synopsis: Taking Pictures with Single Ions

A new ion microscope with nanometer-scale resolution builds up images using single ions emitted one at a time from an ion trap. Read More »

Synopsis: Measuring Spin One Atom at a Time

Synopsis: Measuring Spin One Atom at a Time

Electron microscopy experiments have measured the spin state of individual metal atoms on a graphene layer, characterizing their potential for information storage applications.   Read More »

Viewpoint: Sharing Quantum States
Condensed Matter Physics

Viewpoint: Sharing Quantum States

A quantum dot can form a mesoscopic quantum state together with the electrons of a cavity in which the dot is embedded. Read More »

More Articles