The Dynamics of Nanowire Growth

Project: Research project

Project Details


One-dimensional semiconductor nanowires are being considered for numerous technological applications including high-performance transistor logic, ultra-sensitive single molecule biosensors, nanoscale diodes and lasers, and hierarchically integrated devices/interconnects. The realization of these technologies requires precise control of the novel properties that arise from variations in nanowire diameter, morphology, composition, and interfaces. Recent progress suggests that the vapor¬-liquid-solid (VLS) approach to nanowire growth may offer the desired degree of control, but many fundamental questions remain that, if addressed by the appropriate theoretical methods, could enable the rational specification and growth of nanowires with particular properties. To that end, comprehensive investigations of the mechanisms and processes that govern the nanowire growth by the VLS method will be carried out within the framework of a multiscale-modeling approach.

The research will address outstanding issues in VLS nanowire growth using our theoretical approaches, leading to the realization of nanowire device technology, specifically: (i) the factors controlling growth rate and growth direction, (ii) the mechanisms underlying the formation of complex branched and coiled nanowire morphologies, and (iii) factors controlling compositional abruptness in the synthesis of compositionally modulated semiconductor nanowires. Advanced mathematical and numerical analysis will provide key insights into the microscopic factors (e.g., adatom attachment mechanisms at solid-liquid interfaces) and mesoscale phenomena (e.g., growth instabilities driven by interfacial anisotropies and hydrodynamic effects) governing nanowire growth rates and morphologies in the VLS approach.

Success in the specific area of controlling VLS nanowire growth is expected to have a general impact on emerging nanowire-based technologies. Fundamental aspects of the proposed theoretical research are closely related to a broad class of mesoscopic phenomena that control materials synthesis and phase transformations at the nanoscale, the theoretical methods and modeling tools developed within this research are thus expected to have broad application outside the immediate application of VLS nanowire growth.
Effective start/end date9/1/1612/31/16


  • Office of Naval Research (N00014-16-1-3034)


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