The suitcase-like handle are the two nanowires, one above the other. The darkest areas are gallium arsenide crystal. The two lighter areas in the shape of “plus” signs are gold gates at the top and bottom of the device. (Sandia scanning electron microscope image)

Unexpected voltage increases of up to 25 percent in two barely separated nanowires have been observed at Sandia National Laboratories. Designers of next-generation devices using nanowires to deliver electric currents—including telephones, handheld computers, batteries and certain solar arrays—may need to make allowances for such surprise boosts.

“People have been working on nanowires for 20 years,” says Sandia lead researcher Mike Lilly. “At first, you study such wires individually or all together, but eventually you want a systematic way of studying the integration of nanowires into nanocircuitry. That’s what’s happening now. It’s important to know how nanowires interact with each other rather than with regular wires.”

Read the rest of the article at ScienceDaily.

Read the abstract in the December 2011 issue of Nature Nanotechnology.