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 Controlling the electronic surface properties of a material

This story is from the category Computing Power
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Date posted: 17/07/2009

A recent breakthrough by researchers at the Swiss Nanoscience Institute sees for the first time the creation of thin films with controllable electronic properties. This discovery could have a large impact on future applications in sensors and computing. The international collaboration of researchers from the Universities of Basel and Heidelberg and the Paul Scherrer Institute (Switzerland) have published the work in the prestigious scientific journal Science.

It's commonly accepted that electrical resistance of a given material cannot be adjusted as is the case with, for example, density and color. However, Dr Meike St?hr and her collaborators have now succeeded in developing a new method to selectively tune surface properties such as resistance.

The interdisciplinary team of physicists and chemists have developed a substance which, after heating on a copper surface, exhibits a two dimensional network with nanometer sized pores. The interaction of this network with the existing electron gas on the metal surface leads to the following effect: the electrons underneath the network are pushed into the pores to form small bunches of electrons called quantum dots.

By varying parameters such as the height and diameter of the pores the possibility arises to selectively tune the properties of the material. Further possibilities arise from the ability to fill the pores with different molecules. This allows direct access to the properties of the material which are dependent on the electronic structure, such as conductivity, reflectivity and surface catalysis properties. This will lead to the emergence of new materials with adjustable electronic properties.

See the full Story via external site: www.physorg.com



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