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October 6th, 2012
Nanowires Show the Strain Limit of Silicon
Most nanotechnology developments targeted at electronics look ahead to a post-silicon world. But silicon is still firmly with us and every attempt is being made to wring that last drop of capability out of the material, sometimes with the help of nanotechnology.
For the last decade, researchers have been pushing silicon's limits by straining it. Whether it be more recently the organic semiconductor variety, or just the run-of-the-mill, non-organic variety, strained silicon has been the mainstay of pushing silicon to the very edge of its capabilities. The question is how far can strained-silicon electronics take us?
Swiss researchers at Paul Scherrer Institute and the ETH Zurich may have an answer to that question. With their most recent research, they have strained silicon nanowires right up to their breaking point and still managed to integrate it into an electronic component.
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