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posted by martyb on Tuesday April 29 2014, @12:58PM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the Moore-smaller-wires dept.

Junhao Lin from Vanderbilt University et al. have created three atom wide nanowires and published his results as a letter in the journal Nature Nanotechnology. Full text is behind a paywall but an Article Preview is available.

He created these nanowires using scanning transmission electron microscopy (STEM). The wires were made from transition-metal dichalcogenides (TMDC), chosen because they form monolayers (much like graphene). Neither the article nor the Nature Article Preview specify precisely which TMDCs were constructed, but mentions molybdenum, tungsten, sulfur, and selenium as example constituents of chemicals in this group with the appropriate electrical properties. Some amazing images in the linked Article Preview suggest these wires are on the order of 0.6nm in width.

Transistors and flash memory have already been created using this class of material so it looks like complete integrated circuits using this material are a possibility. The article suggests that this technique may be adapted to construction using electron beam lithography, increasing its potential for future commercial feasibility.

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  • (Score: 2) by hendrikboom on Tuesday April 29 2014, @01:38PM

    by hendrikboom (1125) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday April 29 2014, @01:38PM (#37637) Homepage Journal

    It looks as if we're getting close to the limit for circuitry made of atoms.

    • (Score: 5, Funny) by Rivenaleem on Tuesday April 29 2014, @01:53PM

      by Rivenaleem (3400) on Tuesday April 29 2014, @01:53PM (#37648)

      The funny thing is that it started out as R&D by Gillette trying to find out how to get more blades into the same size razor head.

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  • (Score: 2) by wonkey_monkey on Tuesday April 29 2014, @01:57PM

    by wonkey_monkey (279) on Tuesday April 29 2014, @01:57PM (#37651) Homepage

    Is that "three atom-wide" or "three-atom wide"?

    --
    systemd is Roko's Basilisk
  • (Score: 1) by meisterister on Tuesday April 29 2014, @02:09PM

    by meisterister (949) on Tuesday April 29 2014, @02:09PM (#37656) Journal

    ...what about electromigration? It would be really great to have circuits with such small interconnects, but I couldn't imagine how quickly they would fail when pushed over very low frequencies/voltages/temperatures. Did TFA mention a way of getting around this?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electromigration/ [wikipedia.org]

    --
    (May or may not have been) Posted from my K6-2, Athlon XP, or Pentium I/II/III.
  • (Score: 2) by physicsmajor on Tuesday April 29 2014, @02:28PM

    by physicsmajor (1471) on Tuesday April 29 2014, @02:28PM (#37671)

    The article should read "Junhao Lin et al. from Vanderbilt University" or, even better, "A new press release from Vanderbilt University by Junhao Lin et al." - this second one is more correct if there are collaborators outside Vanderbilt.

    • (Score: 1) by broken on Tuesday April 29 2014, @06:11PM

      by broken (4018) on Tuesday April 29 2014, @06:11PM (#37771) Journal

      Not all of the authors were from Vanderbilt so the first option (which is how I started writing it before I thought about it) does not work. Since Junhao Lin did not write the press release, the second option is not an option either.

      Given that "et al." simply mean "and others", the submitted statement is semantically correct. Perhaps some journals have stricter standards as to how this phrase is used. Is this the case, or is there some other reason you don't like this usage of "et al."?

      • (Score: 2) by Foobar Bazbot on Tuesday April 29 2014, @07:40PM

        by Foobar Bazbot (37) on Tuesday April 29 2014, @07:40PM (#37807) Journal

        Well, it's grammatically ambiguous, as it could either mean ((Junhao Lin from Vanderbilt University) and other researchers) or (Junhao Lin from (Vanderbilt University and other institutions)). Of course, since one of these makes little sense (a researcher is only "from" one institution at a time, in the sense of "from" used here), I don't see it as a problem.

  • (Score: 1) by broken on Tuesday April 29 2014, @06:22PM

    by broken (4018) on Tuesday April 29 2014, @06:22PM (#37777) Journal
    From the article:

    We find that the nanowires remain conductive while undergoing severe mechanical deformations, thus showing promise for mechanically robust flexible electronics.

    This sort of flexibility seems pretty cool considering something so thin seems like it should be fragile. However, I fail to see any practical benefit of using such thin wires where flexibility is needed. We currently have quite flexible macroscopic wires and I would expect excessive resistive losses for long runs of such a thin wire. Does anyone have any ideas for an application of this flexibility property?