One could argue that the industry that has driven nanotechnology’s development most over the past 20 years has been the semiconductor industry.
So when researchers at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute discovered a method for creating a 2D layer of gold nanoparticles that self assembled themselves into a superlattice, they obviously thought of semiconductors.
“Thinking about semiconductors, this discovery could offer new solutions for scaling down the features of today's most advanced 32-nm computer chips to have features in the range of less than 20 nm, or even less than 10 nm," says Sang-Kee Eah, assistant professor in the Department of Physics, Applied Physics, and Astronomy at Rensselaer.The research, which was published in the Journal of Materials Chemistry, discovered that when the gold nanoparticles were infused with liquid toluene a monolayer of gold would form on the surface of the liquid where it met the air. They moved the layer onto a silicon wafer and evaporated the water.
The video below provides some nice visuals on the monolayer.
Dexter Johnson is a contributing editor at IEEE Spectrum, with a focus on nanotechnology.