A nanowire is a nanostructure, with the diameter of the order of a nanometer (10−9 meters). Alternatively, nanowires can be defined as structures that have a thickness or diameter constrained to tens of nanometers or less and an unconstrained length. At these scales, quantum mechanical effects are important — hence such wires are also known as "quantum wires". Many different types of nanowires exist, including metallic (e.g., Ni, Pt, Au), semiconducting (e.g., Si, InP, GaN, etc.), and insulating (e.g., SiO2,TiO2). Molecular nanowires are composed of repeating molecular units either organic (e.g. DNA) or inorganic (e.g. Mo6S9-xIx).
The nanowires could be used, in the near future, to link tiny components into extremely small circuits. Using nanotechnology, such components could be created out of chemical compounds.