The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #59418   Message #1563234
Posted By: Amos
14-Sep-05 - 12:11 AM
Thread Name: BS: The Mother of all BS threads
Subject: RE: BS: The Mother of all BS threads
A previously-unknown zinc oxide nanostructure that resembles the helical configuration of DNA could provide engineers with a new building block for creating nanometer-scale sensors, transducers, resonators and other devices that rely on electromechanical coupling.

New nanohelix structures could provide engineers with a new building block for creating nanometer-scale sensors, transducers, resonators and other devices that rely on electromechanical coupling. (Image courtesy of Zhong Lin Wang)

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Related section:
Matter & Energy

Based on a superlattice composed of alternating single-crystal "stripes" just a few nanometers wide, the "nanohelix" structure is part of a family of nanobelts -- tiny ribbon-like structures with semiconducting and piezoelectric properties -- that were first reported in 2001.

The nanohelices, which get their shape from twisting forces created by a small mismatch between the stripes, are produced using a vapor-solid growth process at high temperature. Information about the growth and analysis of the new structures will be reported in the September 9 issue of the journal Science.

The research was sponsored by the National Science Foundation, NASA Vehicle Systems Program, U.S. Department of Defense Research and Engineering (DDR&E), the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), and the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

"This structure provides a new building block for nanodevices," said Zhong Lin Wang, a Regents professor in the School of Materials Science and Engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology. "From them we can make resonators, place molecules on their surfaces to create frequency shifts -- and because they are piezoelectric, make electromechanical couplings. This adds a new structure to the toolbox of nanomaterials."

With their superlattices composed of many near-parallel single-crystal stripes each about 3.5 nanometers wide and offset about five degrees, the nanohelices are very different from the nanosprings and nanorings of zinc oxide reported by the same research group in Science in 2004. Nanosprings are composed of a single crystal whose shape is governed by balancing the electrostatic forces created by opposite electrical charges on their edges with the elastic deformation energy of the entire structure.

I just knew it was a good idea to save all those tubes of zinc ointment my mother made me take to the beach in the Fifties which I wouldn't actually use because they made me look dorky!! Now I can found a nano-empire!! Yayyyyyyyyyy.