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As feature sizes of the latest generations of electronic devices are approaching atomic dimensions, circuit speeds are now being limited by interconnect bottlenecks. This has prompted innovations such as the introduction of new materials into microelectronics manufacturing at an unprecedented rate and alternative technologies to silicon CMOS architectures. Despite the environmental impact of conventional fossil fuel consumption, the low cost of these energy sources has been a long-standing economic barrier to the development of alternative and more efficient renewable energy sources, fuel cells and batteries. In the face of mounting environmental concerns, interest in such alternative energy sources has grown. It is now widely accepted that nanotechnology offers potential solutions for securing future progress in information and energy technologies.

Joint event

The Canadian Semiconductor Technology Conference (CSTC) forum was established 25 years ago in Ottawa as an important symbol of the intrinsic strength of the Canadian semiconductor research and development community, and the Canadian semiconductor industry as a whole. In 2007, the 13th CSTC was held in Montreal, moving for the first time outside the national capital region. The first three meetings in the series of 'Nano and Giga Challenges in Electronics and Photonics'— NGCM2002 in Moscow, NGCM2004 in Krakow, and NGC2007 in Phoenix— were focused on interdisciplinary research from the fundamentals of materials science to the development of new system architectures. In 2009, NGC2009 and the 14th Canadian Semiconductor Technology Conference (CSTC2009) were held as a joint event, hosted by McMaster University (10–14 August, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada) and the scope was expanded to include renewable energy research and development.

Symposium highlights

This special issue of the journal Nanotechnology is devoted to a better understanding of the function and design of semiconductor devices that are relevant to information technology (both electronics and photonics based) and renewable energy applications. The papers contained in this special issue are selected from the NGC/CSTC2009 symposium. Among them is a report by Ray LaPierre from McMaster University and colleagues at the University of Waterloo in Canada on the ability to manipulate single spins in nanowire quantum bits. The paper also reports the development of a testbed of a few qubits for general quantum information processing tasks. Lower cost and greater energy conversion efficiency compared with thin film devices have led to a high level of activity in nanowire research related to photovoltaic applications. This special issue also contains results from an impedance spectroscopy study of core–shell GaAs nanowires to throw light on the transport and recombination mechanisms relevant to solar cell research.

Information technology research and renewable energy sources are research areas of enormous public interest. This special issue addresses both theoretical and experimental achievements and provides a stimulating outlook for technological developments in these highly topical fields of research.

Speed read

Selected papers from this special issue of Nanotechnology

A solution processed top emission OLED with transparent carbon nanotube electrodes


Continuous hydrothermal synthesis of NiO nanoplates and their use as nanoinks for p-type channel material in a bottom-gate FET


Nanoscale patterning induced strain redistribution in ultrathin strained Si layers on oxide


Building a spin quantum bit register using semiconductor nanowires


The fabrication of a programmable via using phase-change material in CMOS-compatible technology


Hydrogen storage behavior of one-dimensional TiBx chains


Electrical characteristics of core–shell p–n GaAs nanowire structures with Te as the n-dopant

>> View all of the papers in this special issue