Nanostructuring a surface is a key and mandatory engineering step toward advances in nanotechnology. A team of French and Italian scientists and of a Franco-American company (Materials Design, Inc.) has just shown that hydrogen/deuterium (H/D) induces the opening of nanotunnels below the surface of an advanced semiconductor, silicon carbide (SiC) such as resistance of high temperature, high thermal conductivity, biocompatibility, and radiation resistance.
These investigations have been performed using advanced experimental tools, namely synchrotron radiation at SOLEIL (France) and high-resolution electron energy loss spectroscopy for vibrational spectroscopy at the University of Genoa (Italy), and state-of-the-art theoretical simulations using VASP and Phonon within the MedeA software environment. Depending on the H/D SiC surface, these nanotunnels undergo a sequence of semiconducting/metallic/semiconducting transitions. Such nanotunnels open very promising prospects toward applications in electronics, chemistry, storage, sensors and biotechnology.