Nano Bugle

A window into applied science supported by INL

A new technique for developing tiny electronic devices

Polymer sheet are folded into a corner of a cube. Images obtained from MIT web site.

Polymer sheet are folded into a corner of a cube. Images obtained from MIT web site.

A team of researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology(MIT) is developing a new technique that allows engineers to have the nanoscale materials at 3-D single structures, called ‘nano-origami’. They study as well the use of folding tiny materials as motors and condensers, which could lead to better memory storage for computers, with faster microprocessors and new nanophotonic devices.

Although traditional techniques of micro and nano manufacturing, such as X-ray lithography and nano-imprinting runs for two-dimensional structures and are commonly used to build microprocessors and other micro-electrical-mechanical devices, they do not serve to create 3D structures.

The MIT team used conventional lithography tools to create conventional patterns of 2D materials in nanoscale, and then fold them into 3D default shapes, opening a new field of possible applications.

The team, led by George Barbastathishas already made a nano-scale 3D capacitor. The current model has only one fold, but the more folds you add, the more energy will be able to store. Moreover, the addition of extra folds promises a faster flow of information.

Materials such as silicon, silicon nitride and a soft polymer called SU-8 can be part of the folded shapes’ composition.

The hardest part is getting the right alignment of the different faces, once the material is folded. The researchers in charge of the project managed to successfully perform this operation in two different ways. Using magnets, polymers, and adding at the right point of the faces to melt it with an electric current, seal the two sides together.

They are currently working on the collection of faces and edges suitable for implementing a cube on the nanoscale. They believe that a method with three pairs of holes and protuberances could lead to the alignment of faces and edges.

An external magnetic field interacts with a stream flowing through
wire embedded in a polymer’s sheet, causing the blade to fold up

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March 4, 2009 - Posted by | Nano News, Nanoelectronics

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