Metals with Many Gaps

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Science  01 Jul 2005:
Vol. 309, Issue 5731, pp. 15
DOI: 10.1126/science.309.5731.15d

The fabrication of nanostructures is facilitated not only by making small regular structures, but also by forming void spaces that can capture nanomaterials or molecules. For example, in molecular electronics, the formation of metallic gaps can be achieved with scanning probes at surfaces or by drawing metal break junctions. Qin et al. (p. 113; see the Perspective by Martin and Baker) created bimetallic nanowires with repeating gap structures as small as 5 nanometers by first growing bimetallic wires in porous membrane templates with thin layers of etchable metals (such as nickel within gold). After removing the templates, the wires were captured on a substrate and coated on one side with silica. After release, etching proceeded on only one side, allowing the remaining wire to stabilize the resulting gaps.

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