The nanodumbells – shaped somewhat like mini-weightlifting bars – offer a solution to problems of building new, nanocrystal transistors, the basic component of computer chips.

Semiconductor nanocrystals are tiny particles with dimensions of merely a few nanometers. A nanometer (nm) is one-billionth of a meter, or about a hundred-thousandth of the diameter of a human hair. These nanocrystals exhibit unique optical and electrical properties that are controlled by modifying their particle size, composition and shape, creating promising building blocks for future nanotechnology devices, such as mini-computers, nanosensors for chemical and biological molecules, novel solar-cell devices, or for various biomedical applications.



The challenge that lies ahead in adapting these nanocrystals to real-world application lies in wiring them to operate in electronic circuits. How, in the manufacturing process, will it be possible to join billions of them together and incorporate them into a single, integrated, electrical circuit? Another problem is that of establishing good electrical contact in order to ensure speedy and faultless channels of communication.



The new technology developed by Prof. Banin and his team provides the solution to these two limiting problems. They succeeded in attaching gold tips onto nanorods by a simple chemical reaction. The resultant structure resembles a nanodumbbell, in which the central, nanocrystal, semiconductor part of the rod is linked via a strong chemical bond to the gold tips. These nanodumbbells provide strong chemical bonds between the gold and the semiconductor, leading to good electrical connectivity. This provides the path towards solving the problem of wiring the nanocrystals intro electrical circuitry.



More here.