Research overview

The interest in bottom-up fabricated semiconductor nanowires has been growing steadily in the last years due to their potential as basic building blocks of nanoscale devices and circuits. Investigations performed so far try to exploit three unique properties of nanowires: First, they are the smallest dimension structures that allow optical guiding and electrical contacting simultaneously. Second, their large surface to volume ratio enhances their interaction with the environment, turning them into optimal chemical and biological sensors. Finally, their anisotropic geometry makes their optical and electrical properties dramatically dependent on their orientation, allowing their use as polarization-dependent sensors.

Most nanowire applications rely on the ability to grow, characterize (structurally, optically and electronically) and manipulate both individual and collections of nanowires. To date it is rather difficult to find a single research group covering all of the above competences, and students usually focus on a single aspect of nanowire-based device realization (either growth, characterization, simulation or device assembly). The scope of this project is to create a European Network of experienced teams that will provide early stage researchers with a multidisciplinary framework and a comprehensive training in the field of nanowire physics and applications. The active involvement of industrial partners will ensure that the acquired competences are driven by industrial needs, such as scalable and low cost nanowire production. The interaction with associated industrial partners will also add to the employability of the recruited researchers through the exposure to the private sector.

The main applications that we intend to address within the project time are the following: