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Definition - What does Nanowire mean?

Nanowire is a solid rod-like material or structure with diameter on the order of nanometers. Similar to conventional wires, they are also manufactured from semiconducting metal oxides, metals or carbon nanotubes. Due to their size they exhibit unique thermal, chemical, electronic, optical and mechanical properties which are not found in bulk materials and which have their related fields of applications.

Techopedia explains Nanowire

Nanowire is produced under controlled conditions, and can be manufactured via several processes, such as vapor deposition, vapor-liquid synthesis and suspension. Nanowire can be metallic, insulating or semiconducting.

Nanowire exhibits high flexibility and is high in strength and uniform morphology. Metallic nanowire exhibits enhanced magnetic coercivity compared to their bulk counterparts. As for thermoelectric properties, metallic nanowire shows high Seeback coefficient because of the enhanced density of electronic states. Thus it can conduct heat or electricity substantially higher than any bulk material. When it comes to electrical properties, the crystalline structure of nanowire increases the electrical properties by many fold. The large surface area of nanoparticles provides motivating catalytic properties for nanowire. Considering optical properties, metallic nanowire shows unique plasmon absorption effect. On-linear properties are also shown by nanowire arrays.

The unique capabilities and features of nanowire hold lot of promise for applications in different fields like optics, electronics and magnetism. The high aspect ratio, high number of surface atoms and enhanced surface-to-volume ratio makes nanowire attractive for sensor applications such as nanosensors. They are also used in small electronic circuits, transistors, memory devices and quantum instruments. Nanowire is also used in producing nanoprobes and nanophotons.

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