Menu
World's thinnest nanowires may lead to foldable tablets, smartphones

World's thinnest nanowires may lead to foldable tablets, smartphones

Vanderbilt researcher creates nanowires only 3 atoms wide

A researcher at Vanderbilt University has created a way to build nanowires just three atoms wide that should help scientists eventually create paper-thin, flexible tablets smartphones.

Junhao Lin, a Vanderbilt doctoral student and visiting scientist at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee, created a way to use a finely focused beam of electrons to build what university scientists believe are some of the smallest wires ever made. The tiny metallic wires are one-thousandth the width of the microscopic wires that are used today to connect the transistors in integrated computer circuits.

"It's at the cutting edge of everything," Sokrates Pantelides, Lin's adviser and the university's Distinguished Professor of Physics and Engineering, told Computerworld. "People have obviously made nanowires, but they often might be 50 or 100 nanometers across. We have nanotubes 1 nanometer across. These are 0.4 nanometers. I would expect them to be fragile but they're not at all. They are extremely robust."

Lin made the nanowires using semiconducting materials that naturally form monolayers, which are layers one molecule thick, Pantelides said.

The materials, called transition-metal dichalcogenides, are made by combining the metals molybdenum or tungsten with either sulfur or selenium, according to the university. The best-known member of the family is molybdenum disulfide, a common mineral that is used as a solid lubricant.

Scientists have used transition-metal dichalcogenides to build an atomic-scale honeycomb lattice of atoms that has exhibited a number of important properties, like electricity, strength and heat conduction, Pantelides said.

Researchers have already created functioning transistors and flash memory gates out this material. By creating tiny nanowires out of this same material, the transistors and flash memory gates can be connected.

The new nanowires are not built as stand-alone wires. They are built into the honeycomb lattice, along with the transistors and gates. It's all built as one thin, flexible material, which could be used to build thin electronics, like smartphones and tablets.

"Looking to the future, we can create a flexible two-dimensional material," said Pantelides. "You could potentially have screens or pages that are flexible like a sheet of paper. You might be able to fold them and then open them up to see the screen. The material is flexible already because it's just one layer of atoms."

Scientists around the world are working on the thin, flexible material, Lin said in a statement. The tiny nanowires created at Vanderbilt are a key piece that has been missing in this scenario.

"This will likely stimulate a huge research interest in monolayer circuit design," Lin said.

Sharon Gaudin covers the Internet and Web 2.0, emerging technologies, and desktop and laptop chips for Computerworld. Follow Sharon on Twitter at @sgaudin, on Google+ or subscribe to Sharon's RSS feed. Her email address is sgaudin@computerworld.com.

See more by Sharon Gaudin on Computerworld.com.

Read more about emerging technologies in Computerworld's Emerging Technologies Topic Center.

Follow Us

Join the New Zealand Reseller News newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags Vanderbilt Universityconsumer electronicsEmerging Technologiessmartphonescomputerworldhardware systemstablets

Featured

Slideshows

Educating from the epicentre - Why distributors are the pulse checkers of the channel

Educating from the epicentre - Why distributors are the pulse checkers of the channel

​As the channel changes and industry voices deepen, the need for clarity and insight heightens. Market misconceptions talk of an “under pressure” distribution space, with competitors in that fateful “race for relevance” across New Zealand. Amidst the cliched assumptions however, distribution is once again showing its strength, as a force to be listened to, rather than questioned. Traditionally, the role was born out of a need for vendors and resellers to find one another, acting as a bridge between the testing lab and the marketplace. Yet despite new technologies and business approaches shaking the channel to its very core, distributors remain tied to the epicentre - providing the voice of reason amidst a seismic industry shift. In looking across both sides of the vendor and partner fences, the middle concept of the three-tier chain remains centrally placed to understand the metrics of two differing worlds, as the continual pulse checkers of the local channel. This exclusive Reseller News Roundtable, in association with Dicker Data and rhipe, examined the pivotal role of distribution in understanding the health of the channel, educating from the epicentre as the market transforms at a rapid rate.

Educating from the epicentre - Why distributors are the pulse checkers of the channel
Kiwi channel reunites as After Hours kicks off 2017

Kiwi channel reunites as After Hours kicks off 2017

After Hours made a welcome return to the channel social calendar last night, with a bumper crowd of distributors, vendors and resellers descending on The Jefferson in Auckland to kickstart 2017. Photos by Maria Stefina.

Kiwi channel reunites as After Hours kicks off 2017
Arrow exclusively introduces Tenable Network Security to A/NZ channel

Arrow exclusively introduces Tenable Network Security to A/NZ channel

Arrow Electronics introduced Tenable Network Security to local resellers in Sydney last week, officially launching the distributor's latest security partnership across Australia and New Zealand. Representing the first direct distribution agreement locally for Tenable specifically, the deal sees Arrow deliver security solutions directly to mid-market and enterprise channel partners on both sides of the Tasman.

Arrow exclusively introduces Tenable Network Security to A/NZ channel
Show Comments