While nanotechnology promises devices with extremely high speed and simplified architectures, physical problems that make the structures unreliable and difficult to manufacture must be tackled. Recent developments in fabricating semiconducting nanowires and nanocrystals may move the industry closer to realizing new generations of ultrasensitive, high-frequency, high-density devices. Northwestern University researchers have hit upon a reliable and efficient method for forming 5-nanometer gaps in nanowires that could be used to establish electrical contact to nanoscale devices such as nanocrystals and molecular transistors. Experimental physicists at Northwestern University, meanwhile, have applied theory developed at the Naval Research Laboratory to demonstrate a technique for doping nanocrystals. And work on ballistic electron devices at the University of Manchester has paid off with a nanowire-based diode that can operate at frequencies as high as 110 GHz.