Semiconducting Nanowire Networks: Manufacturing Opportunity and Scientific Curiosity

A.J. Lohn, K.J. Norris, J. Zhang, D. Fryauf, N.P. Kobayashi
University of California Santa Cruz, US

Keywords: nanowire, network, indium phosphide, silicon, manufacturing, quantum, transport


Semiconductor nanowires have received wide attention in recent years due to the unique properties that arise when formed into such small structures. However, despite the wealth of experimentally proven advantages for nanowires as compared to traditional or competing materials very few nanowire-based technologies have achieved commercial success. This gap between fantastic research results and commercial viability stems from challenges in manufacturing nanoscale three dimensional devices over the large areas needed to enable economies of scale. By growing semiconducting nanowires on amorphous substrates we enable long range three-dimensional transport through quasi one-dimensional media thereby retaining many of the advantageous properties of nanowires. For large area devices such as solar cells, thermoelectric legs and displays planar manufacturing methods can be used incorporating many nanowires in each device, creating a clearer path to large scale implementation. Studying specifically indium phosphide and silicon nanowire networks I will discuss our large area thermoelectric devices, long range transport studies, and inorganic crystalline flexible materials systems. Special emphasis will be given to properties that cannot be seen in traditional films nor in the more commonly studied arrays of segregated nanowires.