A team of researchers at the University of Texas at Dallas has been investigating various materials in search of those with electrical properties that would make them suitable for small, energy-efficient transistors to power next-generation electronic devices.
Citing a recent Advanced Materials article, the UT Dallas News Center says Dr. Moon Kim and his colleagues describe a material that—when heated to about 450°C—transforms from an atomically thin, two-dimensional sheet into an array of one-dimensional nanowires, each just a few atoms wide.
This microscopic nanoflag pattern emerged as sheets of molybdenum ditelluride were heated to about 450°C, at which point its atoms began to rearrange and form new structures. “The phase transition we observed, this new structure, was not predicted by theory,” says Kim, a professor of materials science and engineering at UT Dallas.
Because the nanowires are semiconductors, researchers predict that they might someday be used as switching devices, just as silicon is used in today’s transistors to turn electric current on and off in electronic devices.
“These nanowires are about 10 times smaller than the smallest silicon wires, says Kim. “And, if used in future technology, would result in powerful energy-efficient devices.”
According to UT Dallas, the research was funded in part by the SouthWest Academy of Nanoelectronics, which is supported by the Semiconductor Research Corporation (SRC) and the National Institute of Standards and Technology; and the Center for Low Energy Systems Technology.