A problem with current silicon chip technology is the growth of silicon ‘stubble’ on the layers of silicon. The whiskers of silicon that have been a nuisance for so long, may now pave the way to computers of the future. The whiskers are nanowires of silicon and researchers from Oregon Health & Science University's OGI School of Science and Engineering have discovered a way to precisely grow the nanowires in the location and direction they want.
Nanowires are normally grown separately from the silicon wafer substrate, mixed with an appropriate liquid and then poured over the silicon wafer that has already been prepared with electrodes. Some of the nanowires align properly with the electrodes and an electronic circuit can be made.
The Oregon team grow the nanowires with the silicon wafer and use an electrical field to influence the nanowires to grown in the location and direction required.