Nanotechnology is booming. It has taken on particular importance for the electronics industry, where the combination of reduced device size and enhanced properties of nano-scale structures compared to their bulk materials counterparts makes them particularly attractive. The recent discovery of 1-dimensional (1D) nanomaterials such as carbon nanotubes and semiconductor/metal nanowires has resulted in a flurry of experimentation demonstrating a variety of unique quantum phenomena related to the confinement of electrons in narrow spaces. Exploitation of the potential of nanomaterials requires both a better understanding of nano-scale properties as well as appropriate scalable nano-fabrication techniques. European researchers supported by funding of the ULTRA-1D project set out to develop new methods of microfabrication of state-of-the-art 1D objects on the scale of 10 nanometres (nm) as well as to conduct studies elucidating electron transport mechanisms in these objects. In particular, researchers focused on three different nano-fabrication techniques for metallic systems, namely high-resolution electron beam lithography, electrochemical growth of ultra-thin nanowires and plasma etching of pre-fabricated 1D objects. Electron transport studies focused on understanding the fundamental size limits for which electron transport remains qualitatively similar to that in macrostructures as well as to explore the new phenomena that emerge below the limit. The ULTRA-1D consortium fabricated a variety of novel 1D systems, among them a transistor-like device based on a single-wall carbon nanotube (SWCN). Commercial exploitation of ULTRA-1D technology and devices should help position the European electronics sector as a leader in the rapidly growing field of nano-fabrication and novel 1D nanomaterials.
Experimental and theoretical investigation of electron transport in ultra-narrow 1-dimensional nanostructures
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29 October 2020