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High-yield self-limiting single-nanowire assembly with dielectrophoresis

A Corrigendum to this article was published on 01 August 2010

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Single-crystal nanowire transistors and other nanowire-based devices could have applications in large-area and flexible electronics if conventional top-down fabrication techniques can be integrated with high-precision bottom-up nanowire assembly. Here, we extend dielectrophoretic nanowire assembly to achieve a 98.5% yield of single nanowires assembled over 16,000 patterned electrode sites with submicrometre alignment precision. The balancing of surface, hydrodynamic and dielectrophoretic forces makes the self-assembly process controllable, and a hydrodynamic force component makes it self-limiting. Our approach represents a methodology to quantify nanowire assembly, and makes single nanowire assembly possible over an area limited only by the ability to reproduce process conditions uniformly.

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Figure 1: Illustration of dielectrophoretic assembly process.
Figure 2: Self-limiting dielectrophoretic assembly process.
Figure 3: Critical pinning voltages for nanowire assembly.
Figure 4: Critical pinning voltage, Vpc, versus flow rate.
Figure 5: Optical dark-field and DUV images of nanowires assembled onto electrodes on a 4-inch quartz substrate after the complete process.

Change history

  • 09 July 2010

    In the version of this Article originally published, Xiangfeng Duan and Samuel Martin were missing from the author list. Their names and affiliations have now been added to the HTML and PDF versions of the text. The supplementary information, acknowledgements, author contributions and competing financial interests statement have been amended.


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The authors thank V. Robbins, A. Fischer-Colbrie, W. Cao, J. Gibes, A. Suess and R. Perez for synthesizing and providing the nanowires used in this work and M. Bonin for fabricating substrates. R. Boehm wrote the image-processing software. The authors would like to acknowledge J. Hamilton for help with fabrication and design contributions to the deposition system, as well as helpful discussions. The authors would also like to thank P. Leon and W. Parce for helpful discussions.

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Authors and Affiliations



X.D. and S.M. designed and performed the initial work on the controlled dielectrophoretic assembly of nanowires at Nanosys, Inc. E.F. and D.S. conceived and designed the experiments reported in this manuscript. E.F. performed these experiments and analysed the data. O.G. contributed to the design and fabrication of the hardware. E.F. and D.S. co-wrote the paper.

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Correspondence to Erik M. Freer.

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All authors have an ownership interest in Nanosys, Inc., and stand to benefit financially if this technology is commercially adopted.

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Freer, E., Grachev, O., Duan, X. et al. High-yield self-limiting single-nanowire assembly with dielectrophoresis. Nature Nanotech 5, 525–530 (2010).

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