Nanowires of the same composition, and even fabricated within the same batch, often exhibit electrical conductivities that can vary by orders of magnitude. Unfortunately, existing electrical characterization methods are time-consuming, making the statistical survey of highly variable samples essentially impractical. Here, we demonstrate a contactless, solution-based method to efficiently measure the electrical conductivity of 1D nanomaterials based on their transient alignment behavior in ac electric fields of different frequencies. Comparison with direct transport measurements by probe-based scanning tunneling microscopy shows that electro-orientation spectroscopy can quantitatively measure nanowire conductivity over a 5-order-of-magnitude range, 10-5-1 Ω-1 m-1 (corresponding to resistivities in the range 102-107 Ω·cm). With this method, we statistically characterize the conductivity of a variety of nanowires and find significant variability in silicon nanowires grown by metal-assisted chemical etching from the same wafer. We also find that the active carrier concentration of n-type silicon nanowires is greatly reduced by surface traps and that surface passivation increases the effective conductivity by an order of magnitude. This simple method makes electrical characterization of insulating and semiconducting 1D nanomaterials far more efficient and accessible to more researchers than current approaches. Electro-orientation spectroscopy also has the potential to be integrated with other solution-based methods for the high-throughput sorting and manipulation of 1D nanomaterials for postgrowth device assembly.
- electrical conductivity measurement
- postgrowth sorting
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Materials Science(all)
- Physics and Astronomy(all)