Electrical Properties of Nanowires and Nanofibers

  • Cristina Buzea
  • Ivan Pacheco
Living reference work entry


This chapter focuses on the electrical properties of nanowires, nanofibers, and nanotubes made from a variety of materials. First a short review of their morphologies and composition is presented, emphasizing the wide variety of elements and compounds able to be fabricated as long-aspect ratio nanomaterials. Research of nanowires and nanofibers indicates that depending on their composition and dimensions, they can either be insulating, semiconducting, metallic, or superconducting. Several interesting effects appearing at nanoscale are discussed, among which proximity-induced superconductivity in wires made of nonsuperconducting materials due to superconducting electrodes, a switch in electrical behavior from metallic to semiconducting with chirality of carbon nanotubes, and metallicity of one-dimensional materials confined inside nanotubes that are semiconducting in bulk. Due to their small dimensions, nanowires and nanofibers present new challenges regarding their electrical properties. Small amounts of bending strains induce a semiconductor-metal transition in small diameter semiconducting nanowires. Their encapsulation in stronger nanotubes offers advantages, such as increase their mechanical strength and protect them from interacting with the atmosphere. Some materials fabricated as nanowires, while nonsuperconducting in bulk form, show superconductivity only on the nanowire surface. Last but not least, the toxic effects on humans due to handling nanowires and nanofibers are emphasized.


Nanowires Nanofibers Electrical properties Superconductor Semiconductor Metallic Carbon nanotubes Proximity induced electrical properties 



Coherence length of the superconducting state at a temperature T


One dimensional


Anodic alumina membrane


Atomic layer-by-layer molecular beam epitaxy


Carbon nanotube




Direct current


Double-walled carbon nanotube


The electron charge




Face center cubic


The Planck constant


Critical field perpendicular to the wire


Critical field parallel to the wire


Critical magnetic field at 0 K


High-resolution transmission electron microscopy








Multi-walled carbon nanotube


Polycarbonate membrane


Poly(methyl methacrylate)




Normal state resistance


Quantum resistance


Scanning electron microscopy


Single-walled carbon nanotube




Critical temperature of transition from normal to superconducting state


Technology computer-aided design data


Transmission electron microscopy








Coherence length of the superconducting state at 0 K


Flux quantum


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.IIPB Medicine CorporationOwen SoundCanada
  2. 2.Department of PathologyGrey Bruce Health ServicesOwen SoundCanada
  3. 3.Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, Schülich School of Medicine & DentistryWestern UniversityLondonCanada

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