Boffins aim to mass produce nanowire circuits

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An international team of scientists has developed a new technique for fabricating nanowire photonic and electronic integrated circuits that could be suitable for high-volume commercial production..

Boffins from Harvard University, in collaboration with the German universities of Jena, Gottingen and Bremen, explained that semiconductor nanowires can be easily synthesised in large quantities using inexpensive chemical methods.

However, it has not previously been possible to reliably mass produce functional circuits from these nanowires.

Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences researchers Mariano Zimmler, Federico Capasso, Robert L. Wallace and Vinton Hayes worked with Professor Carsten Ronning of the University of Jena on the technique.

By incorporating 'spin-on glass' technology used in silicon integrated circuits manufacturing, and photolithography to transfer a circuit pattern onto a substrate with light, the team demonstrated a reproducible, high-volume and low-cost fabrication method for integrating nanowire devices directly onto silicon.

"Because our fabrication technique is independent of the geometrical arrangement of the nanowires on the substrate, we envision further combining the process with one of the several methods already developed for the controlled placement and alignment of nanowires over large areas," said Capasso.

"We believe the marriage of these processes will soon provide the necessary control to enable integrated nanowire photonic circuits in a standard manufacturing setting."

The researchers have filed for US patents covering the invention.
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