The class of materials combining high electrical or thermal conductivity, optical transparency and flexibility is crucial for the development of many future electronic and optoelectronic devices. Silver nanowire networks show very promising results and represent a viable alternative to the commonly used, scarce and brittle indium tin oxide. The science and technology research of such networks are reviewed to provide a better understanding of the physical and chemical properties of this nanowire-based material while opening attractive new applications.
Conventional neuro-computing architectures and artificial neural networks have often been developed with no or loose connections to neuroscience. As a consequence, they have largely ignored key features of biological neural processing systems, such as their extremely low-power consumption features or their ability to carry out robust and efficient computation using massively parallel arrays of limited precision, highly variable, and unreliable components. Recent developments in nano-technologies are making available extremely compact and low power, but also variable and unreliable solid-state devices that can potentially extend the offerings of availing CMOS technologies. In particular, memristors are regarded as a promising solution for modeling key features of biological synapses due to their nanoscale dimensions, their capacity to store multiple bits of information per element and the low energy required to write distinct states. In this paper, we first review the neuro-and neuromorphic computing approaches that can best exploit the properties of memristor and scale devices, and then propose a novel hybrid memristor-CMOS neuromorphic circuit which represents a radical departure from conventional neuro-computing approaches, as it uses memristors to directly emulate the biophysics and temporal dynamics of real synapses. We point out the differences between the use of memristors in conventional neuro-computing architectures and the hybrid memristor-CMOS circuit proposed, and argue how this circuit represents an ideal building block for implementing brain-inspired probabilistic computing paradigms that are robust to variability and fault tolerant by design.
The flexoelectric effect is the response of electric polarization to a mechanical strain gradient. It can be viewed as a higher-order effect with respect to piezoelectricity, which is the response of polarization to strain itself. However, at the nanoscale, where large strain gradients are expected, the flexoelectric effect becomes appreciable. Besides, in contrast to the piezoelectric effect, flexoelectricity is allowed by symmetry in any material. Due to these qualities flexoelectricity has attracted growing interest during the past decade. Presently, its role in the physics of dielectrics and semiconductors is widely recognized and the effect is viewed as promising for practical applications. On the other hand, the available theoretical and experimental results are rather contradictory, attesting to a limited understanding in the field. This review paper presents a critical analysis of the current knowledge on the flexoelectricity in common solids, excluding organic materials and liquid crystals.
We have performed a comparative study of ultrafast charge carrier dynamics in a range of III-V nanowires using optical pump-terahertz probe spectroscopy. This versatile technique allows measurement of important parameters for device applications, including carrier lifetimes, surface recombination velocities, carrier mobilities and donor doping levels. GaAs, InAs and InP nanowires of varying diameters were measured. For all samples, the electronic response was dominated by a pronounced surface plasmon mode. Of the three nanowire materials, InAs nanowires exhibited the highest electron mobilities of 6000 cm(2) V-1 s(-1), which highlights their potential for high mobility applications, such as field effect transistors. InP nanowires exhibited the longest carrier lifetimes and the lowest surface recombination velocity of 170 cm s(-1). This very low surface recombination velocity makes InP nanowires suitable for applications where carrier lifetime is crucial, such as in photovoltaics. In contrast, the carrier lifetimes in GaAs nanowires were extremely short, of the order of picoseconds, due to the high surface recombination velocity, which was measured as 5.4 X 10(5) cm s(-1). These findings will assist in the choice of nanowires for different applications, and identify the challenges in producing nanowires suitable for future electronic and optoelectronic devices.
Efforts to develop scalable learning algorithms for implementation of networks of spiking neurons in silicon have been hindered by the considerable footprints of learning circuits, which grow as the number of synapses increases. Recent developments in nanotechnologies provide an extremely compact device with low-power consumption. In particular, nanoscale resistive switching devices (resistive random-access memory (RRAM)) are regarded as a promising solution for implementation of biological synapses due to their nanoscale dimensions, capacity to store multiple bits and the low energy required to operate distinct states. In this paper, we report the fabrication, modeling and implementation of nanoscale RRAM with multi-level storage capability for an electronic synapse device. In addition, we first experimentally demonstrate the learning capabilities and predictable performance by a neuromorphic circuit composed of a nanoscale 1 kbit RRAM cross-point array of synapses and complementary metal-oxide-semiconductor neuron circuits. These developments open up possibilities for the development of ubiquitous ultra-dense, ultra-low-power cognitive computers.
Oxygen vacancies (V-O) have profound effects on the physical and chemical performance of devices based on oxide materials. This is particularly true in the case of oxide-based resistive random access memories, in which memory switching operation under an external electrical stimulus is closely associated with the migration and ordering of the oxygen vacancies in the oxide material. In this paper, we report on a reliable approach to in situ control of the oxygen vacancies in TiOx films. Our strategy for tight control of the oxygen vacancy is based on the utilization of plasma-enhanced atomic layer deposition of titanium oxide under precisely regulated decomposition of the precursor molecules (titanium (IV) tetraisopropoxide, Ti[OCH(CH3)(2)](4)) by plasma-activated reactant mixture (N-2 + O-2). From the various spectroscopic and microstructural analyses by using Rutherford backscattering spectrometry, x-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, high-resolution transmission electron microscopy, confocal Raman spectroscopy, and spectroscopic ellipsometry, we found that the precursor decomposition power (R-F) of plasma-activated reactant mixture determines not only the oxygen vacancy concentration but also the crystallinity of the resulting TiOx film: nanocrystalline anatase TiOx with fewer oxygen vacancies under high RF, while amorphous TiOx with more oxygen vacancies under low R-F. Enabled by our controlling capability over the oxygen vacancy concentration, we were able to thoroughly elucidate the effect of oxygen vacancies on the resistive switching behavior of TiOx-based memory capacitors (Pt/TiOx/Pt). The electrical conduction behavior at the high resistance state could be explained within the framework of the trap-controlled space-charge-limited conduction with two characteristic transition voltages. One is the voltage (V-SCL) for the transition from Ohmic conduction to space-charge-limited conduction, and the other is the voltage (V-TFL) for transition from space-charge-limited conduction to trap-filled-limited conduction. In this work, we have disclosed for the first time the dependence of these two characteristic transition voltages (i.e., V-SCL and V-TFL) on the oxygen vacancy concentration.
Silicon is of great interest for use as the anode material in lithium-ion batteries due to its high capacity. However, certain properties of silicon, such as a large volume expansion during the lithiation process and the low diffusion rate of lithium in silicon, result in fast capacity degradation in limited charge/discharge cycles, especially at high current rate. Therefore, the use of silicon in real battery applications is limited. The idea of using porous silicon, to a large extent, addresses the above-mentioned issues simultaneously. In this review, we discuss the merits of using porous silicon for anodes through both theoretical and experimental study. Recent progress in the preparation of porous silicon through the template-assisted approach and the non-template approach have been highlighted. The battery performance in terms of capacity and cyclability of each structure is evaluated.
The prospect of electronic circuits that are stretchable and bendable promises tantalizing applications such as skin-like electronics, roll-up displays, conformable sensors and actuators, and lightweight solar cells. The preparation of highly conductive and highly extensible materials remains a challenge for mass production applications, such as free-standing films or printable composite inks. Here we present a nanocomposite material consisting of carbon nanotubes, ionic liquid, silver nanoparticles, and polystyrene-polyisoprene-polystyrene having a high electrical conductivity of 3700 S cm 1 that can be stretched to 288% without permanent damage. The material is prepared as a concentrated dispersion suitable for simple processing into free-standing films. For the unstrained state, the measured thermal conductivity for the electronically conducting elastomeric nanoparticle film is relatively high and shows a non-metallic temperature dependence consistent with phonon transport, while the temperature dependence of electrical resistivity is metallic. We connect an electric fan to a DC power supply using the films to demonstrate their utility as an elastomeric electronic interconnect. The huge strain sensitivity and the very low temperature coefficient of resistivity suggest their applicability as strain sensors, including those that operate directly to control motors and other devices.
We investigated the effects of passivation on the electrical characteristics of molybdenum disulfide (MoS2) field effect transistors (FETs) under nitrogen, vacuum, and oxygen environments. When the MoS2 FETs were exposed to oxygen, the on-current decreased and the threshold voltage shifted in the positive gate bias direction as a result of electrons being trapped by the adsorbed oxygen at the MoS2 surface. In contrast, the electrical properties of the MoS2 FETs changed only slightly in the different environments when a passivation layer was created using polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA). Specifically, the carrier concentration of unpassivated devices was reduced to 6.5 x 10(15) cm(-2) in oxygen from 16.3 x 10(15) cm(-2) in nitrogen environment. However, in PMMA-passivated devices, the carrier concentration remained nearly unchanged in the range of 1-3 x 10(15) cm(-2) regardless of the environment. Our study suggests that surface passivation is important for MoS2-based electronic devices.
With a unique structure and extraordinary properties, graphene has attracted tremendous attention in the preparation of graphene-based composites for various applications. In this study, two different strategies, including in situ growth and a self-assembly approach, have been developed to load CeO2 nanoparticles onto reduced graphene oxide (RGO) nanosheets. The microstructure and morphology of the as-synthesized RGO/CeO2 nanocomposites were investigated by x-ray diffraction, Raman spectroscopy and transmission electron microscopy. The results reveal that CeO2 nanoparticles with well-controlled size and a uniform distribution on RGO sheets with tunable density can be achieved through the self-assembly approach. The significantly enhanced photocatalytic activity of the RGO/CeO2 nanocomposites in comparison with bare CeO2 nanoparticles was revealed by the degradation of methylene blue under simulated sunlight irradiation, which can be attributed to the improved separation of electron-hole pairs and enhanced adsorption performance due to the presence of RGO. A suitable loading content of CeO2 on RGO was found to be crucial for optimizing the photocatalytic activity of the nanocomposites. It is expected that this convenient assembly approach with high controllability can be extended to the attachment of other functional nanoparticles to RGO sheets, and the resultant RGO-supported highly dispersed nanoparticles are attractive for catalysis, sensing and power source applications.
The output of a piezoelectric nanogenerator (NG) fabricated using ZnO nanowire arrays is largely influenced by the density of the surface charge carriers at the nanowire surfaces. Adsorption of gas molecules could modify the surface carrier density through a screening effect, thus, the output of the NG is sensitive to the gas concentration. Based on such a mechanism, we first studied the responses of an unpackaged NG to oxygen, H2S and water vapor, and demonstrated its sensitivity to H2S to a level as low as 100 ppm. Therefore, the piezoelectric signal generated by a ZnO NWs NG can act not only as a power source, but also as a response signal to the gas, demonstrating a possible approach as a self-powered active gas sensor.
We have developed an in situ method to estimate the lateral size of exfoliated nanosheets dispersed in a liquid. Using standard liquid exfoliation and size-selection techniques, we prepared a range of dispersions of graphene, MoS2 and WS2 nanosheets with different mean lateral sizes. The mean nanosheet length was measured using transmission electron microscopy (TEM) to vary from similar to 40 nm to similar to 1 mu m. These dispersions were characterized using a standard dynamic light scattering (DLS) instrument. We found a well-defined correlation between the peak of the particle size distribution as outputted by the DLS instrument and the nanosheet length as measured by TEM. This correlation is consistent with the DLS instrument outputting the radius of a sphere with volume equal to the mean nanosheet volume. This correlation allows the mean nanosheet length to be extracted from DLS data.
We report on the synthesis of high-quality microporous/mesoporous BN material via a facile two-step approach. An extremely high surface area of 1687 m(2) g(-1) and a large pore volume of 0.99 cm(3) g(-1) have been observed in the synthesized BN porous whiskers. The formation of the porous structure was attributed to the group elimination of organic species in a BN precursor, melamine diborate molecular crystal. This elimination method maintained the ordered pore structure and numerous structural defects. The features including high surface area, pore volume and structural defects make the BN whiskers highly suitable for hydrogen storage and wastewater treatment applications. We demonstrate excellent hydrogen uptake capacity of the BN whiskers with high weight adsorption up to 5.6% at room temperature and at the relatively low pressure of 3 MPa. Furthermore, the BN whiskers also exhibit excellent adsorption capacity of methyl orange and copper ions, with the maximum removal capacity of 298.3 and 373 mg g(-1) at 298 K, respectively.
This work studies in detail the effect of femtosecond laser irradiation process parameters (fluence and scanning speed) on the hydrophobicity of the resulting micro/nano-patterned morphologies on stainless steel. Depending on the laser parameters, four distinctly different nano-patterns were produced, namely nano-rippled, parabolic-pillared, elongated sinusoidal-pillared and triple roughness nano-structures. All of the produced structures were classified according to a newly defined parameter, the laser intensity factor (LIF); by increasing the LIF, the ablation rate and periodicity of the asperities increase. In order to decrease the surface energy, all of the surfaces were coated with a fluoroalkylsilane agent. Analysis of the wettability revealed enhanced superhydrophobicity for most of these structures, particularly those possessing the triple roughness pattern that also exhibited low contact angle hysteresis. The high permanent superhydrophobicity of this pattern is due to the special micro/nano-structure of the surface that facilitates the Cassie-Baxter state.
We derive, from an empirical interaction potential, an analytic formula for the elastic bending modulus of single-layer MoS2 (SLMoS2). By using this approach, we do not need to define or estimate a thickness value for SLMoS2, which is important due to the substantial controversy in defining this value for two-dimensional or ultrathin nanostructures such as graphene and nanotubes. The obtained elastic bending modulus of 9.61 eV in SLMoS2 is significantly higher than the bending modulus of 1.4 eV in graphene, and is found to be within the range of values that are obtained using thin shell theory with experimentally obtained values for the elastic constants of SLMoS2. This increase in bending modulus as compared to monolayer graphene is attributed, through our analytic expression, to the finite thickness of SLMoS2. Specifically, while each monolayer of S atoms contributes 1.75 eV to the bending modulus, which is similar to the 1.4 eV bending modulus of monolayer graphene, the additional pairwise and angular interactions between out of plane Mo and S atoms contribute 5.84 eV to the bending modulus of SLMoS2.
High performance transparent electrodes (TEs) with figures-of-merit as high as 471 were assembled using ultralong silver nanowires (Ag NWs). A room-temperature plasma was employed to enhance the conductivity of the Ag NW TEs by simultaneously removing the insulating PVP layer coating on the NWs and welding the junctions tightly. Furthermore, we developed a general way to fabricate TEs regardless of substrate limitations by transferring the as-fabricated Ag NW network onto various substrates directly, and the transmittance can remain as high as 91% with a sheet resistivity of 13 Omega/sq. The highly robust and stable flexible TEs will have broad applications in flexible optoelectronic and electronic devices.
Plasma-induced non-equilibrium liquid chemistry is used to synthesize gold nanoparticles (AuNPs) without using any reducing or capping agents. The morphology and optical properties of the synthesized AuNPs are characterized by transmission electron microscopy (TEM) and ultraviolet-visible spectroscopy. Plasma processing parameters affect the particle shape and size and the rate of the AuNP synthesis process. Particles of different shapes (e. g. spherical, triangular, hexagonal, pentagonal, etc) are synthesized in aqueous solutions. In particular, the size of the AuNPs can be tuned from 5 nm to several hundred nanometres by varying the initial gold precursor (HAuCl4) concentration from 2.5 mu M to 1 mM. In order to reveal details of the basic plasma-liquid interactions that lead to AuNP synthesis, we have measured the solution pH, conductivity and hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) concentration of the liquid after plasma processing, and conclude that H2O2 plays the role of the reducing agent which converts Au+3 ions to Au-0 atoms, leading to nucleation growth of the AuNPs.
Silver nanowire (Ag NW) networks are promising candidates for replacement of indium tin oxide (ITO). However, transparent conductors based on Ag NW networks often suffer from 'haziness' resulting from surface roughness. Thus, in addition to achieving suitable transparency and conductivity, surface roughness must be minimized if realistic implementation of Ag NW networks as transparent conductors is to be realized. In this work, we have reduced the surface roughness of Ag NW networks to below 5 nm as compared to 54 nm for as-deposited Ag NWs through optimization of the low temperature annealing treatment and planarization by poly(3,4 ethylenedioxythiophene)-poly(styrenesulfanate). Using this method, we have been able to produce Ag NW networks with transmittances and sheet resistances of 87% and 11 Omega/sq, respectively. These are some of the best values reported for non-oxide-based transparent conductors. Incorporation of these smooth Ag networks into polymer light emitting diodes fabricated in our laboratory yields device characteristics that are comparable to or better than those with commercially available ITO.
One-dimensional anodic titanium oxide (ATO) nanotube arrays hold great potential as electrode materials for high-performance electrochemical supercapacitors. However, their poor electronic conductivity limits their practical applications. Here, we develop a hydrogen (H-2) plasma treatment method to greatly improve the electrochemical performance of ATO electrodes. Compared with pristine ATO, the nanotubes treated by H-2 plasma illumination (ATO-H) present a rough and amorphous layer at the surface of the nanotubes with simultaneously incorporated Ti3+ and -OH groups. At a current density of 0.05 mA cm(-2) in charge-discharge measurements, the specific capacitance of the ATO-H electrode has substantially increased similar to 7.4 times, with a value as high as 7.22 mF cm(-2). Moreover, the novel ATO-H electrode has also exhibited excellent rate capability (6.37 mF cm(-2) at a current density of 2 mA cm(-2)) and cycling performance with no degradation after 10 000 cycles.
In this work different variables have been analyzed in order to optimize the bactericidal properties of chitosan films loaded with silver nanoparticles. The goal was to achieve complete elimination of antibiotic resistant and biofilm forming strains of Staphylococcus aureus after short contact times. The films were produced by solution casting using chitosan as both a stabilizing and reducing agent for the in situ synthesis of embedded silver nanoparticles. We have applied an innovative approach: the influence of the chitosan molecular weight and its deacetylation degree (DD) were analyzed together with the influence of the bacterial concentration and contact time. The best results were obtained with high DD chitosan where a fast reduction was favored; leading to smaller nanoparticles (nucleation is promoted), and a sufficiently high polymer viscosity prevented the resulting nanoparticles from undesired agglomeration. In addition, for the first time, potential detachment of the silver nanoparticles from the films was evaluated and neglected, demonstrating that uncontrolled release of silver nanoparticles from the chitosan films is prevented. The influence of the ionic silver released from the films, silver loading, nanoparticle sizes, contact, and initial number of bacteria was also analyzed to elucidate the mechanism responsible for the strong bactericidal action observed.