The incomplete growth of nanowires that are synthesized by template-assisted electrodeposition presents a major challenge for nanowire-based devices targeting energy and electronic applications. In template-assisted electrodeposition, the growth of nanowires in the pores of the template is complex and unstable. Here we show theoretically and experimentally that the dynamics of this process is diffusion-limited, which results in a morphological instability driven by a race among nanowires. Moreover, we use our findings to devise a method to control the growth instability. By introducing a temperature gradient across the porous template, we manipulate ion diffusion in the pores, so that we can reduce the growth instability. This strategy significantly increases the length of nanowires. In addition to shedding light on a key nanotechnology, our results may provide fundamental insights into a variety of interfacial growth processes in materials science such as crystal growth and tissue growth in scaffolds.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Materials Science(all)
- Condensed Matter Physics
- Mechanical Engineering