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Communications of the ACM

ACM TechNews

How to Grow Wires and Tiny Plates

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Hydrothermal synthesis

Zinc oxide nanostructures are directly synthesized in parallel microfluidic channels (held by the metal frame) by flowing reactants through the tubing. The microfluidic structure not only creates the device, but also becomes the final packaged functional

Photo courtesy of Jaebum Joo

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) researchers have developed a method for controlling the shapes of submicroprocessors that makes it possible to build entire electronic devices using a liquid-based process. The researchers used the method to produce a functional light-emitting diode array made of zinc oxide nanowires in a single beaker.

The researchers, led by Brian Chow, who worked on the project as a postdoctoral researcher at MIT, developed a system that can precisely control the aspect ratio of the nanowires to produce anything from flat plates to long thin wires. Zinc oxide has electrostatic properties that inhibit the wire's growth as it is placed in solution when different compounds are added. The amount of inhibition depends on the specific properties of the added compounds.

The researchers' method for controlling the shapes of the wires "can be expanded to different material systems," such as titanium dioxide, says MIT researcher Jaebum Joo. He says that due to the material's benign assembly conditions, it might be possible to develop flexible display panels.

From MIT News
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Abstracts Copyright © 2011 Information Inc. External Link, Bethesda, Maryland, USA 


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