The trend toward miniaturization of electronic devices and components extends to the wiring systems needed to connect all required elements. Nanowires for such application can be produced from carbon nanotubes and transition metal chalcogenides (TMCs) but high-yield fabrication of atomic-scale wires of sufficient length has proven problematic. A chemical vapor deposition process has been demonstrated by researchers in Japan to synthesize self-assembled TMC nanowires at scale.

Changing the substrate where the wires form enables tuning how these wires are arranged, from aligned Schematic diagram showing 2D and 3D assemblies of TMC nanowires. Source: Hong En Lim et al.Schematic diagram showing 2D and 3D assemblies of TMC nanowires. Source: Hong En Lim et al.configurations of atomically thin sheets to random networks of bundles. The wafer-scale synthesis technique yields aligned, atomically thin 2D sheets or random networks of 3D bundles, both composed of individual nanowires. This paves the way to industrial deployment in advanced electronics including energy harvesting, and transparent, efficient and flexible devices.

Nanowires grown on a silicon/silica substrate were observed to form a random network of bundles while wires were shown to assemble in a set direction on a sapphire substrate, following the structure of the underlying sapphire crystal. Centimeter-sized wafers covered in a desired arrangement, including monolayers and bilayers, can be tailored for different applications.

A paper describing the large-scale nanowire synthesis process developed by researchers from Tokyo Metropolitan University, National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (Japan), Nagoya University and University of Tsukuba is published in Nano Letters.

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