Indium phosphide nanowires as building blocks for nanoscale electronic and optoelectronic devices
Nanowires and nanotubes carry charge and excitons efficiently, and are therefore potentially ideal building blocks for nanoscale electronics and optoelectronics. Carbon nanotubes have already been exploited in devices such as field-effect and single-electron transistors, but the practical utility of nanotube components for building electronic circuits is limited, as it is not yet possible to selectively grow semiconducting or metallic nanotubes. Here we report the assembly of functional nanoscale devices from indium phosphide nanowires, the electrical properties of which are controlled by selective doping. Gate-voltage-dependent transport measurements demonstrate that the nanowires can be predictably synthesized as either n- or p-type. These doped nanowires function as nanoscale field-effect transistors, and can be assembled into crossed-wire p–n junctions that exhibit rectifying behaviour. Significantly, the p–n junctions emit light strongly and are perhaps the smallest light-emitting diodes that have yet been made. Finally, we show that electric-field-directed assembly can be used to create highly integrated device arrays from nanowire building blocks.