A guide for nanowire growth
N. O. Weiss and X. Duan
Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 110, 15171-15172 (2013)
Human fascination with growth has been around since the Neolithic Revolution began more than 10 millennia ago. With it grew the science and understanding behind the underlying mechanisms found in nature, which are often applied toward practical benefits such as bigger produce or higher yields. For example, farmers plant seeds in specific and optimally spaced positions that allow dense and organized fields to develop (Fig. 1A), whereas villagers in Cherrapunjee, India, grow tree roots across rivers to form living bridges. Other aesthetic applications include guided growth of vines over an arbor (Fig. 1B) or even living sculptures and “tree shaping” (Fig. 1C). The same underlying principles apply to nanowires: guiding growth using catalyst seeds along a template, as developed by Schvartzman et al. and presented in PNAS (1). At the nanoscale, this becomes an indispensable tool for synthesizing the precisely ordered patterns required by advanced electronic applications. Nature is often a model to mimic (2, 3) but is also a barrier that technology must overcome; ultimately, it can be tamed by exploiting these forces through engineering to produce bountiful results.