Feeds

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

Someone's Ph.D is in the bag

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

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.

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

More from The Register

next story
PORTAL TO ELSEWHERE scried in small galaxy far, far away
Supermassive black hole dominates titchy star formation
Boffins say they've got Lithium batteries the wrong way around
Surprises at the nano-scale mean our ideas about how they charge could be all wrong
Edge Research Lab to tackle chilly LOHAN's final test flight
Our US allies to probe potential Vulture 2 servo freeze
Europe prepares to INVADE comet: Rosetta landing site chosen
No word yet on whether backup site is labelled 'K'
Cracked it - Vulture 2 power podule fires servos for 4 HOURS
Pixhawk avionics juice issue sorted, onwards to Spaceport America
Archaeologists and robots on hunt for more Antikythera pieces
How much of the world's oldest computer can they find?
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.