Self Assembly of Diamond Nanothreads

Most parts of our universe self assemble in some form, but it often takes place in a random or even chaotic manner. When scientists talk about self assembly, they usually are discussing techniques designed to guide the assembly process into producing a specific result.

Crystals are collections of atoms that have self assembled into predetermined shapes that are defined by the bonding of electrons in the outer shells. By manipulating the environment the crystals grow in we may be able to change the form of the crystals that grow.

Growing long thin crystals has been a scientific pursuit for some time, because this will often produce extremely strong fibers and also can produce useful electrical conduits. Diamond nanothreads are now being produced, but in experimental environments and small quantities. Like carbon nanotubes, they will likely exhibit great strength and also have electronic applications.

Self-Assembly Process Strikes Perfect Balance for Making Atoms-Wide Nanowires – [spectrum.ieee.org]

A team of researchers from Stanford University and the US Department of Energy’s SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory have developed a self-assembly process that uses diamondoids to create nanowires with a solid, 3-atom wide copper-sulfur crystalline core—the smallest possible.

The resulting nanowires possess superior electrical properties due to the lack of defects present in the solid crystalline core. Perhaps more impotantly, the self-assembly process for making the nanowires could lead to new kinds of optoelectronic devices and superconducting materials.

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