Congratulations to Ben!
The technological potential of semiconductor nanowires has been demonstrated in a broad range of applications spanning optoelectronic, energy, and sensor technologies. Continued progress towards meeting the large expectations generated by initial proof-of-concept demonstrations risk stalling unless outstanding challenges concerning the scalable fabrication of nanostructured materials are resolved. Inspired by the need for scalable and energy-efficient nanofabrication approaches, we investigated the growth of semiconductor nanowires on inductively heated metal surfaces. Beyond the practical synthesis advantages, this approach also enables dynamic control over the surface temperature as an advantageous experimental platform to study nanowire growth kinetics and the fundamental reaction mechanism. In contrast to conventional nanowire growth from metal seed particles (i.e., vapor-liquid-solid), the fundamental mechanism and reaction kinetics underpinning the direct nanowire growth on bulk metal films is poorly understood.
Ben’s paper presents a systematic analysis of thermodynamic and kinetic aspects of germanium nanowire growth from copper surfaces. We disentangle the complex interplay between these steps and analyze the reaction kinetics to identify the activation energies of specific steps. These results enable deeper understanding of the basic reaction mechanism and thereby extend the control over NW growth from bulk metal films. From an applied perspective, the ability to engineer rapid, spatially and temporally programmable heating profiles without physical contact to the heater is advantageous for high-throughput processing methods like roll-to-roll manufacturing.
Ben’s paper is available here:
Chem. Mater., 2017, 29 (11), pp 4792–4800