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Penn research advances understanding of lead selenide nanowires
Date:4/8/2011

PHILADELPHIA 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.

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, purificatio
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Contact: Evan Lerner
elerner@upenn.edu
215-573-6604
University of Pennsylvania
Source:Eurekalert

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