Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors

Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button

Home > Press > Penn Research Advances Understanding of Lead Selenide Nanowires

Lead selenide nanowires integrated in a device.
Lead selenide nanowires integrated in a device.

Abstract:
The advancements of our electronic age rests on our ability to control how electric charge moves, from point A to point B, through circuitry. Doing so requires particular precision, for applications ranging from computers, image sensors and solar cells, and that task falls to semiconductors.

Penn Research Advances Understanding of Lead Selenide Nanowires

Philadelphia, PA | Posted on April 11th, 2011

Now, a research team at the University of Pennsylvania's schools of Engineering and Applied Science and Arts and Sciences has shown how to control the characteristics of semiconductor nanowires made of a promising material: lead selenide.

Led by Cherie Kagan, professor in the departments of Electrical and Systems Engineering, Materials Science and Engineering and Chemistry and co-director of Pennergy, Penn's center focused on developing alternative energy technologies, the team's research was primarily conducted by David Kim, a graduate student in the Materials Science and Engineering program.

The team's work was published online in the journal ACS Nano and will be featured in the Journal's April podcast.

The key contribution of the team's work has to do with controlling the conductive properties of lead selenide nanowires in circuitry. Semiconductors come in two types, n and p, referring to the negative or positive charge they can carry. The ones that move electrons, which have a negative charge, are called "n-type." Their "p-type" counterparts don't move protons but rather the absence of an electron — a "hole" — which is the equivalent of moving a positive charge.

Before they are integrated into circuitry, the semiconductor nanowire must be "wired up" into a device. Metal electrodes must be placed on both ends to allow electricity to flow in and out; however, the "wiring" may influence the observed electrical characteristics of the nanowires, whether the device appears to be n-type or p-type. Contamination, even from air, can also influence the device type. Through rigorous air-free synthesis, purification and analysis, they kept the nanowires clean, allowing them to discover the unique properties of these lead selenide nanomaterials.

Researchers designed experiments allowing them to separate the influence of the metal "wiring" on the motion of electrons and holes from that of the behavior intrinsic to the lead selenide nanowires. By controlling the exposure of the semiconductor nanowire device to oxygen or the chemical hydrazine, they were able to change the conductive properties between p-type and n-type. Altering the duration and concentration of the exposure, the nanowire device type could be flipped back and forth.

"If you expose the surfaces of these structures, which are unique to nanoscale materials, you can make them p-type, you can make them n-type, and you can make them somewhere in between, where it can conduct both electrons and holes," Kagan said. "This is what we call ‘ambipolar.'"

Devices combining one n-type and one p-type semiconductor are used in many high-tech applications, ranging from the circuits of everyday electronics, to solar cells and thermoelectrics, which can convert heat into electricity.

"Thinking about how we can build these things and take advantage of the characteristics of nanoscale materials is really what this new understanding allows," Kagan said.

Figuring out the characteristics of nanoscale materials and their behavior in device structures are the first steps in looking forward to their applications.

These lead selenide nanowires are attractive because they may be synthesized by low-cost methods in large quantities.

"Compared to the big machinery you need to make other semiconductor devices, it's significantly cheaper," Kagan said. "It doesn't look much more complicated than the hoods people would recognize from when they had to take chemistry lab."

In addition to the low cost, the manufacturing process for lead selenide nanowires is relatively easy and consistent.

"You don't have to go to high temperatures to get mass quantities of these high-quality lead selenide nanowires," Kim said. "The techniques we use are high yield and high purity; we can use all of them."

And because the conductive qualities of the lead selenide nanowires can be changed while they are situated in a device, they have a wider range of functionality, unlike traditional silicon semiconductors, which must first be "doped" with other elements to make them "p" or "n."

The Penn team's work is a step toward integrating these nanomaterials in a range of electronic and optoelectronic devices, such as photo sensors.

The research was conducted by Kim and Kagan, along with Materials Science and Engineering undergraduate and graduate students Tarun R. Vemulkar and Soong Ju Oh; Weon-Kyu Koh, a graduate student in Chemistry; and Christopher B. Murray, a professor in Chemistry and in Materials Science and Engineering.

This work was supported with funding from the National Science Foundation Division of Materials Research, the National Science Foundation Solar Program and the National Science Foundation Nano-Bio Interface Center.

####

For more information, please click here

Contacts:
Evan Lerner

215-573-6604

Copyright © University of Pennsylvania

If you have a comment, please Contact us.

Issuers of news releases, not 7th Wave, Inc. or Nanotechnology Now, are solely responsible for the accuracy of the content.

Bookmark:
Delicious Digg Newsvine Google Yahoo Reddit Magnoliacom Furl Facebook

Related News Press

News and information

Cryo-electron microscopy achieves unprecedented resolution using new computational methods March 25th, 2017

Argon is not the 'dope' for metallic hydrogen March 24th, 2017

Promising results obtained with a new electrocatalyst that reduces the need for platinum: Researchers from Aalto University have succeeded in manufacturing electrocatalysts used for storing electric energy with one-hundredth of the amount of platinum that is usually needed March 24th, 2017

Artificial photosynthesis steps into the light: Rice University lab turns transition metals into practical catalyst for solar, other applications March 23rd, 2017

Govt.-Legislation/Regulation/Funding/Policy

Cryo-electron microscopy achieves unprecedented resolution using new computational methods March 25th, 2017

Argon is not the 'dope' for metallic hydrogen March 24th, 2017

Nanobiotix: The Independent Data Monitoring Committee Recommends the Continuation of the Ongoing Phase II/III Trial of NBTXR3 in Soft Tissue Sarcoma March 23rd, 2017

Rice U. refines filters for greener natural gas: New study defines best materials for carbon capture, methane selectivity March 23rd, 2017

Chip Technology

Argon is not the 'dope' for metallic hydrogen March 24th, 2017

Scientists discover new 'boat' form of promising semiconductor: GeSe Uncommon form attenuates semiconductor's band gap size March 23rd, 2017

Pulverizing e-waste is green, clean -- and cold: Rice, Indian Institute researchers use cryo-mill to turn circuit boards into separated powders March 21st, 2017

Electro-optical switch transmits data at record-low temperatures: Operating at temperatures near absolute zero, switch could enable significantly faster data processing with lower power consumption March 20th, 2017

Nanoelectronics

Scientists discover new 'boat' form of promising semiconductor: GeSe Uncommon form attenuates semiconductor's band gap size March 23rd, 2017

UC researchers use gold coating to control luminescence of nanowires: University of Cincinnati physicists manipulate nanowire semiconductors in pursuit of making electronics smaller, faster and cheaper March 17th, 2017

A SOI wafer is a suitable substrate for gallium nitride crystals: Improved characteristics in power electronics and radio applications can be achieved by using a SOI wafer for gallium nitride growth March 4th, 2017

Smart multi-layered magnetic material acts as an electric switch: New study reveals characteristic of islands of magnetic metals between vacuum gaps, displaying tunnelling electric current March 1st, 2017

Discoveries

Cryo-electron microscopy achieves unprecedented resolution using new computational methods March 25th, 2017

Argon is not the 'dope' for metallic hydrogen March 24th, 2017

Promising results obtained with a new electrocatalyst that reduces the need for platinum: Researchers from Aalto University have succeeded in manufacturing electrocatalysts used for storing electric energy with one-hundredth of the amount of platinum that is usually needed March 24th, 2017

Artificial photosynthesis steps into the light: Rice University lab turns transition metals into practical catalyst for solar, other applications March 23rd, 2017

Announcements

Cryo-electron microscopy achieves unprecedented resolution using new computational methods March 25th, 2017

Argon is not the 'dope' for metallic hydrogen March 24th, 2017

Promising results obtained with a new electrocatalyst that reduces the need for platinum: Researchers from Aalto University have succeeded in manufacturing electrocatalysts used for storing electric energy with one-hundredth of the amount of platinum that is usually needed March 24th, 2017

Artificial photosynthesis steps into the light: Rice University lab turns transition metals into practical catalyst for solar, other applications March 23rd, 2017

Energy

Argon is not the 'dope' for metallic hydrogen March 24th, 2017

Rice U. refines filters for greener natural gas: New study defines best materials for carbon capture, methane selectivity March 23rd, 2017

Artificial photosynthesis steps into the light: Rice University lab turns transition metals into practical catalyst for solar, other applications March 23rd, 2017

Researchers develop groundbreaking process for creating ultra-selective separation membranes: Discovery could greatly improve energy-efficiency of separation and purification processes in the chemical and petrochemical industries March 15th, 2017

Solar/Photovoltaic

Artificial photosynthesis steps into the light: Rice University lab turns transition metals into practical catalyst for solar, other applications March 23rd, 2017

New nanofiber marks important step in next generation battery development March 14th, 2017

Perovskite edges can be tuned for optoelectronic performance: Layered 2D material improves efficiency for solar cells and LEDs March 10th, 2017

Strem Chemicals and Dotz Nano Ltd. Sign Distribution Agreement for Graphene Quantum Dots Collaboration February 21st, 2017

NanoNews-Digest
The latest news from around the world, FREE



  Premium Products
NanoNews-Custom
Only the news you want to read!
 Learn More
NanoTech-Transfer
University Technology Transfer & Patents
 Learn More
NanoStrategies
Full-service, expert consulting
 Learn More











ASP
Nanotechnology Now Featured Books




NNN

The Hunger Project