The typical vapor–liquid–solid growth of nanowires is restricted to a vertical one-dimensional geometry, while there is a broad interest for more complex structures in the context of electronics and photonics applications. Controllable switching of the nanowire growth direction opens up new horizons in the bottom-up engineering of self-assembled nanostructures, for example, to fabricate interconnected nanowires used for quantum transport measurements. In this work, we demonstrate a robust and highly controllable method for deterministic switching of the growth direction of self-catalyzed GaAs nanowires. The method is based on the modification of the droplet–nanowire interface in the annealing stage without any fluxes and subsequent growth in the horizontal direction by a twin-mediated mechanism with indications of a novel type of interface oscillations. A 100% yield of switching the nanowire growth direction from vertical to horizontal is achieved by systematically optimizing the growth parameters. A kinetic model describing the competition of different interface structures is introduced to explain the switching mechanism and the related nanowire geometries. The model also predicts that the growth of similar structures is possible for all vapor–liquid–solid nanowires with commonly observed truncated facets at the growth interface.
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