Scientists have been able to grow nanowires for some time now but only in the vertical position, but for the use of electronics they need to be grown horizontally which has proven to be difficult, until now.
Researchers at the Weizmann Institute of Science think that they have figured out how to do this and have managed to grow nanowires in a straight line on sapphire crystals. The method that they are using has managed to see the nanowires grow far longer and have managed up to a millimeter in length, which is comparable to their vertically grown brethren.
As well the horizontal nanowires have the same optical and electronic properties as the vertical ones which is what will make them suitable for use in electronics.
They use miscut C-plane sapphire, which produces a series of parallel nanoscale grooves in the surface of the crystal. Then, using the well established vapor-liquid-solid growth method, the nanowires are teased out along the furrows, resulting in long, horizontal, perfectly aligned wires. In this case the researchers used nickel catalyst nanoparticles to produce galium nitride nanoparticles, which are commonly used in electronics.