Scientists carve nanowires out of ultrananocrystalline diamond thin films

November 4, 2011

A team of scientists working at Argonne National Laboratory's (ANL) Center for Nanoscale Materials has successfully carved ultrananocrystalline diamond (UNCD) thin films into nanowires, boosting the material's functionality and providing potential improvements to the fabrication of biosensors.

UNCD thin films are a special form of diamond invented at ANL, and the subject of tremendous interest because of the material's highly desirable ability to alter its electrical properties when the chemical bonding between is modified. "It's a highly attractive carbon-based material with a wide range of applications in communications, medicine, and defense," notes Sumant.

A primary motive behind their studies, he explains, is to understand the properties of UNCH when it's fabricated into a nanowire geometry. They also want to see how these properties can be altered by changing chemical bonding at the grain boundary and by taking advantage of increased surface-to-volume ratio at the same time.

"We've demonstrated a pathway to fabricate UNCD nanowires, with widths as small as 30 nanometers at a thickness of 40nanometers, by using a top-down fabrication approach that combines and [a] reactive ion etching process," says Sumant.

Among the exceptional electrical properties of the UNCD nanowires, the researchers also discovered a resistance that is extremely sensitive to the adsorption of at the grain boundaries. This discovery opens up new possibilities for the fabrication of advanced nanoscale sensors for specific use, according to the team.

The main advantage of UNCD over other materials, he explains, is that it provides stable functionalization, which could be very useful for fabricating a new breed of sensors.

UNCD nanowires are initially expected to find applications in the biosensor area, or in pressure or , which could be used by the micro-electromechanical systems (MEMS) and semiconductor industries.

Explore further: Diamonds are a Scientist's best Friend: Research into Building Better Small Machines

Related Stories

Diamond technology to revolutionize mobile communications

August 7, 2006

The U. S. Department of Energy's Argonne National Laboratory has teamed with industrial and academic partners under a DARPA Phase II research and development program to develop a new technology based on Ultrananocrystalline ...

New nanocrystalline diamond probes overcome wear

November 10, 2009

Researchers at the McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science at Northwestern University have developed, characterized, and modeled a new kind of probe used in atomic force microscopy (AFM), which images, measures, ...

Reusable templates for the production of nanowires

May 23, 2011

Scientists from Argonne National Laboratory CNM's Nanofabrication and Electronic and Magnetic Materials and Devices groups, working with users from the University of Wisconsin-Stevenson Point, discovered a fast, simple, scalable ...

Recommended for you

New nanomaterial maintains conductivity in 3-D

September 4, 2015

An international team of scientists has developed what may be the first one-step process for making seamless carbon-based nanomaterials that possess superior thermal, electrical and mechanical properties in three dimensions.

Graphene made superconductive by doping with lithium atoms

September 2, 2015

(Phys.org)—A team of researchers from Germany and Canada has found a way to make graphene superconductive—by doping it with lithium atoms. In their paper they have uploaded to the preprint server arXiv, the team describes ...

Making nanowires from protein and DNA

September 3, 2015

The ability to custom design biological materials such as protein and DNA opens up technological possibilities that were unimaginable just a few decades ago. For example, synthetic structures made of DNA could one day be ...

1 comment

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

Isaacsname
not rated yet Nov 04, 2011
I wonder if they've tried to stretch or compress it yet..., iirc, there was an article recently about silicon's properties changing with the moduli.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.