Nanowires

Nanowires are long thin, wire-shaped structures formed generally with diameters of ten nanometers or less. The ultimate nanowire is considered to be a chain of single atoms. Nanowire technology is being investigated for faster and smaller electronic components, changing thin plastics into touch screens and cotton t-shirts into armor, and more advanced and efficient solar cells.

The future of nanoelectronics – transistors without junctions – [nanowerk.com]

The junctionless transistor resembles in a way the first proposed transistor structure, patented in 1928. But so far, no-one had been able to fabricate it – until now. According to the Tyndall team, the key to success was the ability to fabricate silicon nanowires with a diameter of a few dozens of atomic planes, enabled by the electron-beam writing techniques and expertise available at Tyndall.

“The electrical current flows in this silicon nanowire, and the flow of current is perfectly controlled by a ‘wedding ring’ structure that electrically squeezes the silicon wire in the same way that you might stop the flow of water in a hose by squeezing it” explains Colinge. “These structures are easy to fabricate even on a miniature scale which leads to the major breakthrough in potential cost reduction.”

Nanowire Polymer Film Turns Any Surface into a Multitouch Interface – [singularityhub.com]

Portuguese engineers have taken us one step closer to fusing the digital and physical worlds. Displax, a fledgling tech company in Braga, has developed a device that can read the electrical disturbances in a thin transparent polymer film embedded with nanowires. Any pressure on the film (from a finger, or even from wind) can be detected and understood as a command. Apply the Displax Multitouch Technology (DMT) to any noncoductive surface and you’ve got an instant multitouch interface.

Ordinary T-shirts could become body armor – [sc.edu]

A simple cotton T-shirt may one day be converted into tougher, more comfortable body armor for soldiers or police officers.

Researchers at the University of South Carolina, collaborating with others from China and Switzerland, drastically increased the toughness of a T-shirt by combining the carbon in the shirt’s cotton with boron – the third hardest material on earth. The result is a lightweight shirt reinforced with boron carbide, the same material used to protect tanks.

IBM Makes 3-Nanometer Nanowire Silicon Circuits – [ieee.org]

A test circuit built with nanowires of silicon could point the way to much smaller transistors, say the IBM researchers who created it.

Researchers from IBM’s Thomas J. Watson Research Center announced today at the annual Symposium on VLSI Technology, in Honolulu, that they have built a ring oscillator out of field-effect transistors (FETs) based on nanowires with diameters as small as 3 nanometers. The oscillator—is composed of 25 inverters using negative- and positive-channel FETs.

Towards nanowire solar cells with a 65-percent efficiency – [nanowerk.com]

The current thin-film solar cells (type III/V) have an efficiency that lies around 40 percent, but they are very expensive and can only be applied as solar panels on satellites. By using mirror systems that focus one thousand times they can now also be deployed on earth in a cost-effective manner. The TU/ researchers expect that in ten years their nano-structured solar cells can attain an efficiency of more than 65 percent. Jos Haverkort: “If the Netherlands wants to timely participate in a commercial exploitation of nanowire solar cells, there is a great urgency to get on board now.” The research is conducted together with Philips MiPlaza.

They think that nanotechnology, in combination with the use of concentrated sunlight through mirror systems, has the potential to lead to the world’s most efficient solar cell system with a cost price lower than 50 cent per Watt peak. In comparison: for the present generation of solar cells that cost price is 1.50 euro per Watt peak.

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