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Single-crystal metallic nanowires and metal/semiconductor nanowire heterostructures

An Erratum to this article was published on 05 August 2004


Substantial effort has been placed on developing semiconducting carbon nanotubes1,2,3 and nanowires4 as building blocks for electronic devices—such as field-effect transistors—that could replace conventional silicon transistors in hybrid electronics or lead to stand-alone nanosystems4,5. Attaching electric contacts to individual devices is a first step towards integration, and this step has been addressed using lithographically defined metal electrodes1,2,3,4,6,7,8. Yet, these metal contacts define a size scale that is much larger than the nanometre-scale building blocks, thus limiting many potential advantages. Here we report an integrated contact and interconnection solution that overcomes this size constraint through selective transformation of silicon nanowires into metallic nickel silicide (NiSi) nanowires. Electrical measurements show that the single crystal nickel silicide nanowires have ideal resistivities of about 10 µΩ cm and remarkably high failure-current densities, >108 A cm-2. In addition, we demonstrate the fabrication of nickel silicide/silicon (NiSi/Si) nanowire heterostructures with atomically sharp metal–semiconductor interfaces. We produce field-effect transistors based on those heterostructures in which the source–drain contacts are defined by the metallic NiSi nanowire regions. Our approach is fully compatible with conventional planar silicon electronics and extendable to the 10-nm scale using a crossed-nanowire architecture.

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Figure 1: Preparation and structural characterization of single-crystal NiSi nanowires.
Figure 2: Transport measurements on individual single-crystal NiSi nanowires.
Figure 3: Fabrication and structural characterizations of NiSi/Si nanowire heterostructures and superlattices.
Figure 4: Transport properties of a NiSi/p-Si/NiSi heterojunction field-effect transistor.
Figure 5: Self-aligned nanoscale NiSi/Si/NiSi devices.


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We thank M. C. McAlpine, C. J. Barrelet and D. C. Bell for discussions. C.M.L. thanks the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency and Intel for support of this work.

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Correspondence to Charles M. Lieber.

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Wu, Y., Xiang, J., Yang, C. et al. Single-crystal metallic nanowires and metal/semiconductor nanowire heterostructures. Nature 430, 61–65 (2004).

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