May 23, 2008

Breakthrough in Waferscale self-assembly of nanostructures

Researchers at Northeastern University have developed a technique to scale-up the directed assembly of single-walled carbon nanotube (SWNT) networks, from microns to inches, creating a viable circuit template that can be transferred from one substrate to another for optimum productivity. The revolutionary assembly process has the potential to change the way electronics and other applications are developed for consumers.

The CHN (Center for High-rate Nanomanufacturing at Northeastern University) has been able to develop a novel way to assemble nanoelements (nanotubes, nanoparticles, etc.) into nanostructures and devices that enable the mass production of atomic-scale structures and will lead to the production of devices such as biosensors, batteries, memory devices and flexible electronics very quickly and efficiently and with minimal errors.

The revolutionary assembly process, developed by Busnaina and his team, scales-up the nanoscale structures on a wafer level on a variety of hard and soft substrates such as silicon and polymers. In addition, the assembled structures could also be transferred to other substrates in continuous or batch processes.

Concurrently, researchers at the CHN are investigating the environmental and biological implications to ensure that these devices and techniques are safe for people and for the environment.

Research at CHN

1 & 2: Nanotemplate-enabled High Rate Manufacturing
Once developed, CHN’s nanotemplates will be integrated as tooling for an economically realistic production process. The nano-building blocks will be guided to self-assemble over large areas in high-rate, scaleable, commercially viable processes such as injection molding and extrusion. CHN researchers have successfully assembled both carbon nanotubes and 50-nm polystyrene latex particles on gold microwires and nanowires.

3: Proof of concept : Memory Device and Biosensor
Use carbon nanotubes for electromechnical switches (working with Nantero). Second testbed is for biosensors for 8-10 minute detection of antibodies. Working with Triton Systems on the biosensors.