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Major Advance in Nanomaterial Development Reported

Nanosys, Inc., reported on the publication of a journal article in the February 2002 issue of NanoLetters by Peidong Yang, Nanosys cofounder and a Professor of Chemistry at the University of California at Berkeley.

The title of the paper is "Block-by-Block Growth of Single-crystalline Si/SiGe Superlattice Nanowires." Yang is the senior author of the paper along with University of California-Berkeley graduate students, Yiying Wu, and Rong Fan. In the article, the Berkeley scientists describe a new synthetic method for growing heteronuclear semiconductor nanowires, 20 nm to 100 nm in diameter, made of alternating blocks of both Si and SiGe on a single wire.

The study demonstrates exquisite control of both composition and structure of a new type of nanomaterial in which alternating segments of two different materials are generated and controlled at the nanometer scale. Heterostructured nanowires represent a remarkable new class of materials that will aid in the construction of nanoscale electronics and optical devices. In addition, these nanostructures represent a new class of thermoelectric materials, with potential applications in high-efficiency, nano-based heating and cooling systems.

The concept for Yang's new materials resembles the idea of "living polymerization," an advanced technology used to make highly controlled, high-quality polymer materials. By keeping the nanocrystalline growth "living" and simply changing the composition as a function of the growth time, Yang has demonstrated unprecedented control over crystal growth on the nanometer scale.

This article was prepared by Technology Review Biotech Week editors from staff and other reports.