Nanomanufacturing’s influence on sensors, displays

By Control Engineering Staff November 8, 2005
Nanosaws, nanobelts, and nanowires (top to bottom) were grown by Georgia Tech researchers from cadmium selenide using the vapor-liquid-solid technique.

Atlanta, GA —Two recent nanomanufacturing studies laying the foundation for large-scale, controlled synthesis of nanostructures could play an important role in future sensors, displays, and nanoelectronic devices.

Nanotechnology researchers at Georgia Institute of Technology say they have taken an important step toward high-volume production of new nanometer-scale structures with the first systematic study of growth conditions that affect production of one-dimensional nanostructures from the optoelectronic material cadmium selenide (CdSe). Using results from more than 150 experiments in which temperature and pressure conditions were systematically varied, the researchers created a “road map” to guide future nanomanufacturing using a vapor-liquid-solid (VLS) technique. Together with earlier Georgia Tech work, that mapped production conditions for nanostructures made from zinc oxide, another important nanotechnology material, the studies form a foundation for the nanostructure synthesis.

“For the future of nanomanufacturing, we needed a systematic map to show the best conditions for producing these structures reproducibly with high yield,” explained Zhong Lin Wang, director of Georgia Tech’s Center for Nanoscience and Nanotechnology and Regent’s professor in Georgia Tech’s School of Materials Science and Engineering. “This information will be necessary for scaling up the production of these interesting structures for the applications that will be developed.”

Cadmium selenide has been studied for applications in optoelectronics, luminescent materials, lasing materials, and biomedical imaging. Zinc oxide is a semiconducting, piezoelectric, and optical material with applications in sensors, resonators, and nanoelectronic structures.

“Now that we have determined the optimal requirements for growth,” Wang concluded, “it should be straightforward to scale up the production of these structures. We have a lot of ideas for potential applications.”

Results were reported in October in the journal Advanced Materials (Vol. 17, pp. 1-6). National Science Foundation, NASA Vehicle Systems Program, Department of Defense Research and Engineering, and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency supported the research.

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—Control Engineering Daily News Desk
Jeanine Katzel, senior editor, jkatzel@reedbusiness.com