Photon-triggered nanowire transistors

  • Nature Nanotechnology 12, 963968 (2017)
  • doi:10.1038/nnano.2017.153
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Photon-triggered electronic circuits have been a long-standing goal of photonics. Recent demonstrations include either all-optical transistors in which photons control other photons1,2 or phototransistors with the gate response tuned or enhanced by photons3,4,5. However, only a few studies report on devices in which electronic currents are optically switched and amplified without an electrical gate. Here we show photon-triggered nanowire (NW) transistors, photon-triggered NW logic gates and a single NW photodetection system. NWs are synthesized with long crystalline silicon (CSi) segments connected by short porous silicon (PSi) segments. In a fabricated device, the electrical contacts on both ends of the NW are connected to a single PSi segment in the middle. Exposing the PSi segment to light triggers a current in the NW with a high on/off ratio of >8 × 106. A device that contains two PSi segments along the NW can be triggered using two independent optical input signals. Using localized pump lasers, we demonstrate photon-triggered logic gates including AND, OR and NAND gates. A photon-triggered NW transistor of diameter 25 nm with a single 100 nm PSi segment requires less than 300 pW of power. Furthermore, we take advantage of the high photosensitivity and fabricate a submicrometre-resolution photodetection system. Photon-triggered transistors offer a new venue towards multifunctional device applications such as programmable logic elements and ultrasensitive photodetectors.

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The authors thank J.-H. Song and M.-K. Seo for helping to build the experimental set-up. This work was supported by the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) grant funded by the Korean government (MSIP) (nos. 2009-0081565 and 2014M3A6B3063710). S.-H.K. acknowledges the support of an NRF grant (NRF-2016R1C1B2007007).

Author information


  1. Department of Physics, Korea University, Seoul 02841, Republic of Korea

    • Jungkil Kim
    • , Hoo-Cheol Lee
    • , Kyoung-Ho Kim
    • , Min-Soo Hwang
    • , Jin-Sung Park
    • , Jung Min Lee
    • , Jae-Pil So
    • , Jae-Hyuck Choi
    • , Carl J. Barrelet
    •  & Hong-Gyu Park
  2. Department of Physics, Chung-Ang University, Seoul 06974, Republic of Korea

    • Soon-Hong Kwon


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J.K. and H.-G.P. designed the experiments. J.K., M.-S.H., J.-P.S., J.-H.C. and H.-G.P. built the experimental set-up. J.K., H.-C.L., J.-S.P. and J.M.L. performed the experiments. K.-H.K., S.-H.K. and C.J.B. performed the theoretical analyses. J.K., C.J.B. and H.-G.P. wrote the manuscript. All the authors discussed the results and commented on the manuscript.

Competing interests

The authors declare no competing financial interests.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Hong-Gyu Park.

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