Atomic nanowires on semiconductor surfaces: Ir on Ge(001)

  1. Atomic nanowires on semiconductor surfaces: Ir on Ge(001)

    15_MAT12 / Solid-state physics
    Promotor(en): S. Cottenier, D.E.P. Vanpoucke / Begeleider(s): M. Sluydts, D.E.P. Vanpoucke

    Everybody knows Moore’s Law, or at least has a vague idea of its consequences: “Next year’s computer will be faster.” In 1965, Gordon Moore observed that the number of components per integrated circuit, that could be produced at the lowest cost doubled roughly every year. This primarily economical ‘law’ has meanwhile become a self-fulfilling prophecy, driving the micro-electronics industry. Current fourth generation Intel Core chips are based on 22 nm technology, and 4 nm technology is expected to be introduced in commercial end-user applications around 2022. However this miniaturization cannot be maintained indefinitely and modern lithographical techniques are expected to meet their limits in the current decade. Moreover, miniaturization is also steadily approaching its ultimate and final limit: atomic size devices connected by atomic wires. To build these ultimate devices on an industrial scale, chip makers are looking toward self-assembly of surface nanostructures and nanowires (NWs).

    Over the last decade both for Au and Pt monatomic nanowires have been observed and modeled on the Ge(001) surface. These nanowires have a width of a single atom, and can be hundreds of nanometers long. Also Ir has long been predicted as a suitable candidate to form such wires. In 2013 these nanowires were finally experimentally observed. Unlike the Pt and Au cases, the Ir nanowires are claimed to be electronically stabilized, meaning that the observed nanowires have a length which is an integer multiple of a 1D electron wave present in these wires.

    In this topic, the Ir nanowires will be modeled using state of the art solid state simulation techniques. Investigation of the electronic structure will be used to show the role of the electronic standing wave in the stability of the nanowire.

    Interested students will be trained in the use of the required quantum mechanical codes and tools necessary for this topic.

  1. Study programme
    Master of Science in Engineering Physics [EMPHYS], Master of Science in Physics and Astronomy [CMFYST]
    For Engineering Physics students, this thesis is closely related to the cluster(s) Modelling, Nano, Materials, Fundamentals


Stefaan Cottenier
Dr. Dr. Danny Vanpoucke