MRS Bulletin

Technical Feature

Technical Feature

Functional Nanowires

Charles M. Lieber and Zhong Lin Wang


Nanotechnology offers the promise of enabling revolutionary advances in diverse areas ranging from electronics, optoelectronics, and energy to healthcare. Underpinning the realization of such advances are the nanoscale ma te rials and corresponding nanodevices central to these application areas. Semiconductor nanowires and nanobelts are emerging as one of the most powerful and diverse classes of functional nanoma terials that are having an impact on science and technology. In this issue of MRS Bulletin, several leaders in this vibrant field of research present brief reviews that highlight key aspects of the underlying materials science of nanowires, basic device functions achievable with these materials, and developing applications in electronics and at the interface with biology. This article introduces the controlled synthesis, patterned and designed self-assembly, and unique applications of nanowires in nanoelectronics, nano-optoelectronics, nanosensors, nanobiotechnology, and energy harvesting.

Charles M. Lieber, Guest Editor for this issue of MRS Bulletin, is the Mark Hyman Professor in the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology at Harvard University and holds a joint appointment in Harvard's Division of Engineering and Applied Sciences.

Lieber's research focuses on the chemistry and physics of materials, with an emphasis on low-dimensional and nanoscale materials; rational synthesis of new nanoscale and nanostructured solids; development of methodologies for hierarchical assembly of nanoscale materials into complex and functional systems; investigation of fundamental electronic, optical, and optoelectronic properties of nanoscale materials; design and development of nanoelectronics and nanophotonic systems with an emphasis on biological detection; electrical and optical-based computing; and interfaces between nanoelectronic and biological systems.

Lieber can be reached by Harvard University, 12 Oxford st., Cambridge, MA 02138 USA; tel. 617-496-5442 and e-mail

Zhong Lin Wang, Guest Editor for this issue of MRS Bulletin, is a Regents' Professor, COE Distinguished Professor, and director of the Center for Nanostructure Characterization and Fabrication at the Georgia Institute of Technology. He has more than 15 years of research experience in nanotechnology. His group's discovery of the nanobalance in 1999 was selected as a breakthrough in nanotechnology by the American Physical Society. In 2001, Wang and his colleagues discovered the nanobelt, considered to be a groundbreaking work.

Wang's most recent research focuses on oxide nanobelts and nanowires, in situ techniques for nanoscale measurements, self-assembly of nanostructures, the fabrication of nanodevices and nanosensors for biomedical applica tions, and nanogenerators for self-powered nanosystems.

Wang was elected as fellow of the American Physical Society in 2005. He has received numerous awards and prizes for his research work and has authored or co-authored four textbooks and more than 500 peer-reviewed journal articles, review papers, or book chapters. He has edited or coedited 14 volumes of books on nanotechnology and holds 20 patents or provisional patents.

Wang can be reached at the Georgia Institute of Technology, School of MS&E,771 Ferst Dr., E.J. Love Bldg., Atlanta, GA 30332 USA; tel 404-894-8008, fax 404-894-8008, and e-mail