Feeds

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

Someone's Ph.D is in the bag

Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable

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.

HP ProLiant Gen8: Integrated lifecycle automation

More from The Register

next story
Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 claimed lives of HIV/AIDS cure scientists
Researchers, advocates, health workers among those on shot-down plane
The Sun took a day off last week and made NO sunspots
Someone needs to get that lazy star cooking again before things get cold around here
Mwa-ha-ha-ha! Eccentric billionaire Musk gets his PRIVATE SPACEPORT
In the Lone Star State, perhaps appropriately enough
MARS NEEDS OCEANS to support life - and so do exoplanets
Just being in the Goldilocks zone doesn't mean there'll be anyone to eat the porridge
Diary note: Pluto's close-up is a year from … now!
New Horizons is less than a year from the dwarf planet
Forty-five years ago: FOOTPRINTS FOUND ON MOON
NASA won't be back any time soon, sadly
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.
Mobile application security vulnerability report
The alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, and the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.