Proving that our childhood years spent with crayola firmly in hand haven't gone to waste, new research from University of Wisconsin-Madison uses a scanning probe microscope to draw and erase conducting nanowires. The researchers put three-atom-thick layers of lanthanum-aluminum-oxide on top of strontium-titanium-oxide, which then forms an "electron gas" between the layers. The tip of the microscope is then used to turn the gas layer conductive, allowing the team to draw, and erase, nanowire lines in order to create delicate nano-scale circuits.

The researchers have also developed a way of growing the oxides directly on silicon, which would allow them to integrate more easily with existing technology.

Research published in Nature Communications