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Study explains unexpected conductivity of nanoscale silicon

When graduate student Pengpeng Zhang successfully imaged a piece of silicon just 10 nanometers-or a millionth of a centimeter-in thickness, she and her UW-Madison co-researchers were puzzled. According to established thinking, the feat should be impossible because her microscopy method required samples that conduct electricity.

"After she did it, we realized, 'Hey, this silicon layer is r......

Full article >>> as nano-devices like silicon nanowires and quantum dots. But now we can use the tools from silicon electronics we already have to probe it."

The team studied silicon-on-insulator substrates, in which a half-millimeter-thick silicon wafer is covered by a much thinner layer of insulating silicon oxide. Another silicon layer, in turn, tops the oxide layer. In the UW-Madison investigation, t......

Full article >>> han silicon sandwiched between oxide layers. And as layer thickness shrunk, this difference eventually grew to six orders of magnitude.

The team has proposed that cleaning promotes conductivity by creating new electronic states on the silicon surface where electrons can reside. States are to electrons what parking spaces are to cars. In silicon sandwiched between oxide layers, every parki......

Full article >>>
'"/> By Madeline Fisher 02/08/06

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