Nanostructures include all shapes - wires, rods, “tetrapods,” dots - formed from all of the industrially important semiconductor materials (such as silicon). Because they are under 100 nanometers, the start-up company Nanosys seeks to exploit their quantum properties - new and unique electronic, optical, magnetic, interface and integration properties. But nanostructures are not just materials, they are molecular-scale devices grown from the bottom-up.
Nanostructures - Composition, Properties and Potential Applications
Nanosys CEO Larry Bock explains: “Nanosys is focused on high-performance inorganic nanostructures. These are nanostructures made out of commercially important materials like silicon, gallium arsenide, indium phosphide but grown from the bottom-up instead of traditional down processing. When we grow these structures we can literally define where each and every atom is in these structures on the atomic scale. And as a consequence of that we can very finely tune their electronic, optical, magnetic-thermal properties. So when we grow these structures we are integrating a lot of functional complexity into these structures as we grow them - so now they are no longer materials, they now become devices. So, for example, we can engineer things like high-performance transistors, LEDs, solar cells, little lasers and so forth into these nanostructures as we grow them.
What Nanosys Claims About the Structure and Properties of its Semiconductor Nanostructures
Nanosys emphasizes that - in stark contrast to carbon nanotubes - its nanostructures are uniformly synthesized and well-defined building blocks. The company claims that its proprietary semiconductor nanostructures are the only class of nanomaterials whose structure and properties can be predicted and controlled based on computer models with “a precise synthetic recipe that produces the exact structure in high-purity and high-yield, with every particle identical to every other”, says Bock.