Feeds

Grad student creates world's thinnest wires – just three atoms wide

Someone's Ph.D is in the bag

Security for virtualized datacentres

A Vanderbilt University graduate student has created the world's thinnest wires using a beam of electrons, a technique that could usher in new ultra-slim form factors for electronics and possibly help the chip industry build smaller, faster processors.

Ph.D candidate Junhao Lin used a scanning transmission electron microscope capable of focusing a beam of electrons down to a width of half an ångström to create the wires. The work was carried out at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), where he is a visiting scientist.

"This will likely stimulate a huge research interest in monolayer circuit design," Lin said. "Because this technique uses electron irradiation, it can in principle be applicable to any kind of electron-based instrument, such as electron-beam lithography."

The wires were carved out of transition-metal dichalcogenides (TMDCs), which are formed of a mixture of the metals molybdenum or tungsten with either sulfur or selenium. These form into monolayers – slabs of material an atom thick – and are being actively investigated because their conductive qualities make them ideal for the electronics industry.

Scientists have already created functioning transistors and flash memory gates from TMDCs and wires are the next step to making a fully functioning electronic system that's just atoms thick. Because of their tiny size, such components can be stacked to vastly increase the amount of grunt on possible future processors.

"Junhao took this project and really ran with it," said his supervisor, Professor Sokrates Pantelides. "If you let your imagination go, you can envision tablets and television displays that are as thin as a sheet of paper that you can roll up and stuff in your pocket or purse."

The full paper on Lin's technique is published in the latest edition of the journal Nature Nanotechnology.

Security for virtualized datacentres

More from The Register

next story
Boffins who stare at goats: I do believe they’re SHRINKING
Alpine chamois being squashed by global warming
What's that STINK? Rosetta probe shoves nose under comet's tail
Rotten eggs, horse dung and almonds – yuck
Comet Siding Spring revealed as flying molehill
Hiding from this space pimple isn't going to do humanity's reputation any good
Kip Thorne explains how he created the black hole for Interstellar
Movie special effects project spawns academic papers on gravitational lensing
Experts brand LOHAN's squeaky-clean box
Phytosanitary treatment renders Vulture 2 crate fit for export
LONG ARM of the SAUR: Brachially gifted dino bone conundrum solved
Deinocheirus mirificus was a bit of a knuckle dragger
Moment of truth for LOHAN's servos: Our US allies are poised for final test flight
Will Vulture 2 freeze at altitude? Edge Research Lab to find out
prev story

Whitepapers

Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
New hybrid storage solutions
Tackling data challenges through emerging hybrid storage solutions that enable optimum database performance whilst managing costs and increasingly large data stores.