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Major advance in understanding how nanowires form
Date:3/28/2011

New insights into why and how nanowires take the form they do will have profound implications for the development of future electronic components. PhD student Peter Krogstrup from the Nano-Science Center at the University of Copenhagen is behind the sensational new theoretical model, which is developed in collaboration with researchers from CINAM-CNRS in Marseille.

One of the most important components in future electronic devices will likely be based on nanocrystals, which are smaller than the wavelength of the light our eyes can detect. Nanowires, which are extremely thin nanocrystal wires, are predicted to have a predominant role in these technologies because of their unique electrical and optical properties. Researchers around the world have been working for years to improve the properties of these nanowires. With his research, PhD student Peter Krogstrup at the Niels Bohr Institute, University of Copenhagen has laid the foundations for a greater understanding of nanowires. With that comes the potential for improving their performance, which will bring the research closer to being applied in the development of solar cells and computers. In the latest edition of Physical Review Letters he describes how, under certain conditions, nanowires form a crystal structure that really should not be possible, seen from an energy perspective.

"Crystals will always try to take the form in which their internal energy is as little as possible. It is a basic law of physics and according to it these nanowires should have a cubic crystal structure, but we almost always see that a large part of the structure is hexagonal," explains Peter Krogstrup, who has been working with the theory in recent years.

Catalyst particle shape is the key

In order to explain why and when these crystals become hexagonal, Peter Krogstrup has, as part of his doctoral dissertation, examined the shape of the catalyst particle (a little nano-droplet)
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Contact: Peter Krogstrup
krogstrup@fys.ku.dk
452-671-5191
University of Copenhagen
Source:Eurekalert

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