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Shooting Nanowires

The “shooting star” patterns in this Mahato Contest Runner-Up aren’t just dazzling to look at – they may also be useful electronics. Graduate students Kristen Collar and Jincheng Li first found these patterns while growing thin films of the semiconductor gallium arsenide. The “stars” start as droplets of liquid gallium on the film surface; as the film grows, they slowly move across the surface, leaving small solid trails -- nanowires -- in their wake. Collar is experimenting with different ways of growing the films to see if this could be a method for manufacturing sets of steered nanowires.