While you may not have to solder nanowires to nanoelectrodes—yet—know that there has been a development that goes beyond the process that has heretofore been the methods which were pretty much performed one at a time, which is rather tedious for creating electronic sensor arrays.
The new process: electroplating. Yes, the process that’s been used in industry since the mid-1800’s.
The nano development was a result of work performed by the Center for Integrated Technologies (CINT) at the Sandia National Laboratories (www.sandia.gov) and Arizona State University (www.asu.edu).
The new process uses a lithographic process to form microarrays of composite gold electrodes on oxidized silicon substrates. Then, there is electric-field-assisted alignment of silicon nanowires between the electrodes. The nanowire ends are embedded in nickel by selective electrodeposition over prepatterned electrodes. Finally, there is annealing to 300°C.
“All of the electroplating is done in parallel. Everywhere there’s a metal contact, the electroplated nickel grows over the nanowire, capturing it,” explained Sean Hearne, a Sandia researcher at CINT.
And you just thought electroplating was for parts, well, larger than a billionth of a meter in size.