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Posted: August 2, 2007

Conductive nanowires created using self-assembly on silicon chips

(Nanowerk News) A team of researchers from the National Research Council and the University of Albert at the National Institute for Nanotechnology(NINT) have demonstrated an innovative technique for producing very small conductive nano-wires on silicon chips. This meets the need for connecting ever smaller transistors and other electronic components in a way that allows the user to control the composition, structure and placement of the nano-wire. Since it is also compatible with existing silicon-based fabrication techniques, it has significant potential for commercial applications. The process is described in a paper title "Assembly of aligned linear metallic patterns on silicon" published in the August 2, 2007 issue of Nature Nanotechnology and is available on-line.
The first step in the process is to facilitate the assembly of a class of polymers, called block co-polymers, within micron-scale lithographically-defined channels on the silicon surface. The block co-polymers spontaneously self-assemble into lines as narrow as 10 nanometres in diameter. These structures are then loaded with the desired metal ion in water, and the block co-polymers are removed by a plasma treatment, leaving behind the nano-wires. The resulting wires are conductive and can be created in a variety of shapes and lengths.
In one example, 25 parallel platinum nano-wires were made using this self assembly process, with each wire measuring only 10 nm in width, but extending to a length of 50 microns a length 5,000 times greater than its width.
Project team leader Dr. Jillian Buriak described the importance of this as a solution to a real world problem of how to integrate existing chip technology and future nano-electronic components.
Source: National Institute for Nanotechnology
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