Researchers at the University of Copenhagen’s Niels Bohr Institute developed hybrid nanowire crystals that could play a central role in the development of future semiconducting electronics, such as quantum computation and solar cells. The new material fuses semiconducting and metallic materials on the atomic scale and solves the challenge of creating the perfect transition between a nanowire crystal and a contact.
The research group creates the hybrid crystals by heating solids made of pure atomic elements until a desired pressure is reached in the cell. Then a small port is opened to a vacuum chamber, where a beam of atoms from the vapor phase is directed toward a semiconductor substrate, from where the nanowire crystals are formed.
In their paper in Nature Materials, the researchers demonstrate the perfect transition between the semiconductor and metal and also show that they can make a chip with billions of identical semiconductor-metal nanowire hybrids.
We think that this new approach could ultimately form the basis for future superconducting electronics, and that is why the research into nanowires is interesting for the largest electronics companies.