Scientists at the University of Illinois claim that copper nanowires made using the technique could serve as interconnects in electronic device fabrication, and as electron emitters in very thin field-emission displays.
"We can grow forests of freestanding copper nanowires of controlled diameter and length, suitable for integration into electronic devices," said Kyekyoon Kim, a professor of electrical and computer engineering at the University of Illinois.
The copper nanowires are grown on a variety of surfaces, including glass, metal and plastic, by chemical vapour deposition from a precursor.
Hyungsoo Choi, a research professor in the Micro and Nanotechnology Laboratory at the University, explained that the growth process is "compatible with contemporary silicon-processing protocols".
To demonstrate the practicability of the low-temperature growth process, the researchers first grew an array of copper nanowires on a patterned silicon substrate.
They then fashioned a field-emission display based on the array's bundles of nanowires.
In a field-emission display, electrons emitted from the nanowire tips strike a phosphor coating to produce an image.
Because the researchers used a bundle of nanowires for each pixel in their display, the failure of a few nanowires will not ruin the device.
"The emission characteristics of the copper nanowires in our proof-of-principle field-emission display were very good," said Kim.
"Our experimental results suggest that bundled nanowires could lead to longer lasting field-emission displays."
Boffins grow nanowires at low temperatures
By Robert Jaques on Apr 30, 2008 7:32AM