This week, MCAG welcomed Sam Hawken, a 2nd-year Ph.D student in the Department of Chemistry at the University of Southampton, to UCC. Sam specialises in the synthesis and characterisation of metal-organic precursors containing tin, bismuth and antimony with selenium for the growth of SnSe, BiSe and SbSe nanowires.
These types of nanowires are composed of phase-change materials. These are materials which exhibit a reversible structural change from crystalline to amorphous under local heating, such as when an electrical pulse is applied. Some examples of such materials include germanium telluride and antimony telluride, and nanowires composed of these materials can be synthesised from chemical vapour deposition methods. The different crystal states of these materials possess different resistive values, and this property lends itself to utilization in non-volatile memory devices. Optimum characteristics for such devices would be high switching speeds between the resistive states and lower input energy required to perform said switching, whilst still being stable under normal ambient conditions.
The work being undertaken by Fionán and Sam seeks to improve the properties and structure of these nanowires using different types of precursor