May
26
2006

Glowing nanowires light up the nanoworld


Nano light emitters: Credit: Lorelle Mansfield/NIST NIST "grows" semiconductor nanowires that emit ultraviolet light as part of a project to make prototype nano-lasers and other devices and the measurement tools needed to characterize them. Electron micrograph shows the gall
Researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) are growing nanowires made of gallium nitride alloys and making prototype devices and nanometrology tools. The wires are grown under high vacuum by depositing atoms layer by layer on a silicon crystal.
When excited with a laser or electric current, the wires emit an intense glow in the ultraviolet or visible parts of the spectrum, depending on the alloy composition.
The NIST team has used the nanowires to make a number of prototype devices, including light-emitting diodes, field-effect transistors, and nanowire "bridge" structures that may be useful in sensors and nanoscale mechanical resonators.
Nanolight sources may have many applications, including "lab on a chip" devices for identifying chemicals and biological agents, scanning-probe microscope tips for imaging objects smaller than is currently possible, or ultra-precise tools for laser surgery and electronics manufacturing.
Source: NIST Tech Beat

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