Monolithic Growth of Ultrathin Ge Nanowires on Si(001)
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Self-assembled Ge wires with a height of only 3 unit cells and a length of up to 2 micrometers were grown on Si(001) by means of a catalyst-free method based on molecular beam epitaxy. The wires grow horizontally along either the  or the  direction. On atomically flat surfaces, they exhibit a highly uniform, triangular cross section. A simple thermodynamic model accounts for the existence of a preferential base width for longitudinal expansion, in quantitative agreement with the experimental findings. Despite the absence of intentional doping, the first transistor-type devices made from single wires show low-resistive electrical contacts and single-hole transport at sub-Kelvin temperatures. In view of their exceptionally small and self-defined cross section, these Ge wires hold promise for the realization of hole systems with exotic properties and provide a new development route for silicon-based nanoelectronics.