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|A section of nanowire produced by Texas A&M mechanical engineering researchers postdoctoral researcher Subrata Kundu and associate professor Hong Liang. The electrically conducting nanowire is about 1/1,000 the width of a human hair and could be used in developing nanoscale electronic devices.|
Sometimes simpler is better.
Engineering researchers at Texas A&M University have developed a new way to produce ultra-thin electricity-conducting wire that is simpler and faster than existing processes.
"Other methods used to produce nanowires use high temperatures and high pressure," said Subrata Kundu, a post-doctoral researcher in the research group of Hong Liang, an associate professor in Texas A&M's Department of Mechanical Engineering. "This method is much simpler and faster."
Kundu and Liang described the process in an article in the current issue of the journal Advanced Materials.
The process developed by Kundu and Liang works by shining ultraviolet light on a mixture of strands of DNA, cadmium sulfate and thioacetamide for about six hours. UV light breaks thioacetamide to produce sulfide ions (S2-). Chemical changes produced by the UV light allow the cadmium sulfate molecules to bind to the DNA. The resulting nanowires about 1,000 times thinner than a human hair conduct electricity and could be used in the development of so-called nano-scale electronic devices like small chips to make tiny computer or medical devices.
Nano-scale devices range in size from the size of a molecule to about 100 nanometers. One meter is 1 billion nanometers long.
Liang and Kundu plan to continue research in this area using different metals lead, zinc and molybdenum to produce the nanowires. Kundu said working with the other metals will give the researchers important information about how the process works.
The UV process also allows nanowires to be built on DNA arranged in two or three dimensions, t-joints and cubes, for example. This opens the possibility of using the process to build entire nano-scale circuits.
About Texas A&M University
Texas A&M Engineering ranks among the finest and most comprehensive engineering programs in the nation.
Our Dwight Look College of Engineering is an integral part of Texas A&M University, which opened in 1876 as the states first public institution of higher education. Nearly 9,000 engineering majors are enrolled in our 12 departments. Our faculty are dedicated to teaching, research and discovery in all of the major engineering fields.
Texas A&M Engineering also includes three state engineering agencies that provide engineering research, education, and outreach.
You'll find Texas A&M University's 5,200-acre campus in the twin cities of Bryan-College Station, which share a population of more than 112,000. The community is located within a triangle formed by Dallas, Houston and San Antonio three of the largest cities in the United States and not far from the scenic Texas Gulf Coast and the state capital, Austin.
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