The ITO nanowhisker structure resembles a tree, with branches growing orthogonal to the primary growth direction, referred to as the trunk. VLS-GLAD provides scientists with an arborist’s ability to shape the branch architecture. The technique enables control over number density, diameter and branching of ITO nanowhiskers.

Hybrid architectures

Deposition modulation allows for real-time fabrication of previously unachievable hybrid architectures during bottom-up growth. For example, with modulation of deposition rate and substrate orientation during growth, branches can be placed on selected regions of the trunk, and the trunk diameter can be controlled.

The work demonstrates the utility of VLS-GLAD in improving the control over the morphology of nanowhiskers, and the ability to fabricate hybridized nanostructures from the bottom-up. The group is currently working on implementing these structures in devices and expanding the technique to other materials.

Applications for ITO nanowhiskers include high surface area electrodes, gas sensors, protein molecule sensors and UV light sources.

The researchers presented their work in the journal Nanotechnology.