Encoding active device elements at nanowire tips

You Shin No, Ruixuan Gao, Max N. Mankin, Robert W. Day, Hong Gyu Park, Charles M. Lieber

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


Semiconductor nanowires and other one-dimensional materials are attractive for highly sensitive and spatially confined electrical and optical signal detection in biological and physical systems, although it has been difficult to localize active electronic or optoelectronic device function at one end of such one-dimensional structures. Here we report a new nanowire structure in which the material and dopant are modulated specifically at only one end of nanowires to encode an active two-terminal device element. We present a general bottom-up synthetic scheme for these tip-modulated nanowires and illustrate this with the synthesis of nanoscale p-n junctions. Electron microscopy imaging verifies the designed p-Si nanowire core with SiO2 insulating inner shell and n-Si outer shell with clean p-Si/n-Si tip junction. Electrical transport measurements with independent contacts to the p-Si core and n-Si shell exhibited a current rectification behavior through the tip and no detectable current through the SiO2 shell. Electrical measurements also exhibited an n-type response in conductance versus water-gate voltage with pulsed gate experiments yielding a temporal resolution of at least 0.1 ms and ∼90% device sensitivity localized to within 0.5 μm from the nanowire p-n tip. In addition, photocurrent experiments showed an open-circuit voltage of 0.75 V at illumination power of ∼28.1 μW, exhibited linear dependence of photocurrent with respect to incident illumination power with an estimated responsivity up to ∼0.22 A/W, and revealed localized photocurrent generation at the nanowire tip. The tip-modulated concept was further extended to a top-down/bottom-up hybrid approach that enabled large-scale production of vertical tip-modulated nanowires with a final synthetic yield of >75% with >4300 nanowires. Vertical tip-modulated nanowires were fabricated into >50 individually addressable nanowire device arrays showing diode-like current-voltage characteristics. These tip-modulated nanowire devices provide substantial opportunity in areas ranging from biological and chemical sensing to optoelectronic signal and nanoscale photodetection.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4713-4719
Number of pages7
JournalNano Letters
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2016 Jul 13

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 American Chemical Society.


  • One-dimensional nanostructure
  • nanodevice
  • p-n junction
  • photodetector
  • potentiometric sensor
  • wafer-scale nanodevices

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Bioengineering
  • General Chemistry
  • General Materials Science
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanical Engineering


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