Nanometer-size wires having a cross-sectional dimension of less than 8 nm with controllable lengths and diameters are produced by infiltrating latent nuclear or ion tracks formed in trackable materials with atomic species. The trackable materials and atomic species are essentially insoluble in each other, thus the wires are formed by thermally driven, self-assembly of the atomic species during annealing, or re-crystallization, of the damage in the latent tracks. Unlike conventional ion track lithography, the inventive method does not require etching of the latent tracks.
The United States Government has rights in this invention pursuant to Contract No. W-7405-ENG-48 between the United States Department of Energy and the University of California for the operation of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.