Team creates new tech for complex micro structures for use in sensors, other apps

Jul 13, 2012 By Lee Tune
Fourkas, et al article in Chemical Science,Volume 3, Number 8, August 2012, Pages 2449-2456. Credit: Chemical Science

(Phys.org) -- University of Maryland Chemistry Professor John Fourkas and his research group have developed new materials and nanofabrication techniques for building miniaturized versions of components needed for medical diagnostics, sensors and other applications. These miniaturized components -- many impossible to make with conventional techniques -- would allow for rapid analysis at lower cost and with small sample volumes.

Fourkas and his team have created materials that allow the simultaneous 3D manipulation of microscopic objects using and a unique point-by-point method for lithography (the process of using light in etching silicon or other substrates to create chips and other electronic components). As they report in a research article published in the August issue of Chemical Science, the combination of these techniques allows them to assemble complex from multiple microscopic components.

This work builds on earlier breakthroughs by Fourkas and his team in the use of visible light for making for applications such as optical communications, controlling and manufacturing .

Click here for larger image. Credit: John Fourkas, University of Maryland

"These materials have opened the door to a suite of new techniques for micro and nanofabrication," says Fourkas. "For instance, we have been able to perform braiding and weaving with threads that have a diameter that is more than 100 times smaller than that of a human hair." In the paper, Fourkas and his group also showcase 3D structures composed of glass microspheres, a microscopic tetherball pole, and a microscopic needle eye that has been threaded.

"One of the exciting aspects of this set of techniques is that it is compatible with a wide range of materials. For instance, we can weave together threads with completely different compositions to create functional microfabrics or build 'brick by brick with building blocks that have different chemical or physical properties."

UMD creates new tech for complex micro structures for use in sensors & other apps
Click here for larger image.Image by John Fourkas, University of Maryland

In addition to being enabling technologies for the creation of microscopic analytical and diagnostic devices, Fourkas foresees these techniques being valuable in the study and control of the behavior of individual cells and groups of cells.

Simultaneous microscale optical manipulation, fabrication and immobilisation in aqueous media was authored by Farah Dawood, Sijia Qin, Linjie Li, Emily Y. Lin and John T. Fourkas.

Explore further: NIST offers electronics industry two ways to snoop on self-organizing molecules

More information: To learn more about research in the Fourkas laboratories, visit www2.chem.umd.edu/groups/fourkas

Related Stories

UM Team Devises Way to Use Metal in Micromachines

Feb 09, 2006

In the world of microtechnology, entire "machines," so tiny the naked eye can't see them, can be manufactured to create things like sensors that deploy car air bags. But conventional micromachine fabrication ...

New Laser Technique Advances Nanofabrication Process

Apr 09, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- The ability to create tiny patterns is essential to the fabrication of computer chips and many other current and potential applications of nanotechnology. Yet, creating ever smaller features, ...

Creating nanostructures from the bottom up

Apr 24, 2012

Microscopic particles are being coaxed by Duke University engineers to assemble themselves into larger crystalline structures by the use of varying concentrations of microscopic particles and magnetic fields.

Recommended for you

Quantum effects in nanometer-scale metallic structures

Oct 22, 2014

Plasmonic devices combine the 'super speed' of optics with the 'super small' of microelectronics. These devices exhibit quantum effects and show promise as possible ultrafast circuit elements, but current ...

User comments : 3

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

nanotech_republika_pl
1 / 5 (1) Jul 13, 2012
"... 100 times smaller than that of a human hair." What is a micron?
lbuz
not rated yet Jul 14, 2012
If they can assemble and weave arbitrarily long CNT cables, Space Elevator tech is coming closer every day with this and other similar developments. We should begin to discuss safety concerns and political issues.
nanotech_republika_pl
not rated yet Jul 14, 2012
CNT cables? Not with that precision, not that kind of technology. What they are showing is microtechnology, not nanotechnology.