Now, silicon-germanium nanowires for smaller, more powerful electronic devices

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Washington, Dec 10 (ANI): A research team led by an Indian-origin scientist has successfully grown silicon-germanium semiconducting nanowires for potential use in next-generation transistors.

Scientists from the UCLA Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science, Purdue University and IBM have conducted these nanowires - which measure from a few tens to a few hundreds of nanometers in diameter and up to several millimeters in length.

Suneel Kodambaka, a UCLA professor of materials science and engineering, could help speed the development of smaller, faster and more powerful electronics.

"We are excited for two reasons. One is that we have extended our knowledge of the fundamental physics of the process by which nanowires grow. The other is the improved prospect of using nanowires in high-performance electronic devices," said Frances Ross.

"The nanowires are so small you can place them in virtually anything. Because of their small size, they are capable of having distinctly different properties, compared to their bulk counterparts," said Kodambaka.

The team showed they could create nanowires with layers of different materials, specifically silicon and germanium, which were defect-free and atomically sharp at the junction - critical requirements for making efficient transistors out of the tiny structures.

The "sharper" the interface between the material layers - in this case, just one atom, or close to one atom, thick - the better the electronic properties.

"We think this study is significant because it provides a solution to the problem of growing sharp interfaces in nanowires, thereby addressing an important limitation in the growth of nanowires," said Ross.

According to Kodambaka, silicon-germanium nanostructures also have thermoelectric applications, in which heat is converted into electricity.

The study appeared in the latest issue of the journal Science. (ANI)

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