Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Invention jet prints nanostructures with self-assembling material

Date:
September 16, 2013
Source:
University of Chicago
Summary:
Engineers have developed a new approach to the fabrication of nanostructures for the semiconductor and magnetic storage industries. This approach combines advanced ink-jet printing technology with self-assembling block copolymers.

This atomic force microscope image shows directed self-assembly of a printed line of block copolymer on a template prepared by photolithography. The microscope’s software colored and scaled the image. The density of patterns in the template (bounded by the thin lines) is two times that of the self-assembled structures (the ribbons).
Credit: Serdar Onses/University of Illinois-Urbana

A multi-institutional team of engineers has developed a new approach to the fabrication of nanostructures for the semiconductor and magnetic storage industries. This approach combines top-down advanced ink-jet printing technology with a bottom-up approach that involves self-assembling block copolymers, a type of material that can spontaneously form ultrafine structures.

The team, consisting of nine researchers from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, the University of Chicago and Hanyang University in Korea, was able to increase the resolution of their intricate structure fabrication from approximately 200 nanometers to approximately 15 nanometers. A nanometer is a billionth of a meter, the width of a double-stranded DNA molecule.

The ability to fabricate nanostructures out of polymers, DNA, proteins and other "soft" materials has the potential to enable new classes of electronics, diagnostic devices and chemical sensors. The challenge is that many of these materials are fundamentally incompatible with the sorts of lithographic techniques that are traditionally used in the integrated circuit industry.

Recently developed ultrahigh resolution ink jet printing techniques have some potential, with demonstrated resolution down to 100-200 nanometers, but there are significant challenges in achieving true nanoscale dimension. "Our work demonstrates that processes of polymer self-assembly can provide a way around this limitation," said John Rogers, the Swanlund Chair Professor in Materials Science and Engineering at UIUC.

Rogers and his associates report their findings in the September issue of Nature Nanotechnology. Combining jet printing with self-assembling block copolymers enabled the engineers to attain the much higher resolution, as suggested by lead author Serdar Onses, a postdoctoral scientist at UIUC. Onses earned his doctorate at the University of Wisconsin under Paul Nealey, now the Brady W. Dougan Professor in Molecular Engineering at UChicago and a co-author of the Nature Nanotechnology paper. "This concept turned out to be really useful," Rogers said.

Engineers use self-assembling materials to augment traditional photolithographic processes that generate patterns for many technological applications. They first create either a topographical or chemical pattern using traditional processes. For the Nature Nanotechnology paper, this was done at imec in Belgium, an independent nanoelectronics research center. Nealey's laboratory pioneered this process of directed self-assembly of block copolymers using chemical nanopatterns.

Nearing the limits

The resolution of the chemical pattern nears the current limit of traditional photolithography, noted Lance Williamson, a graduate student in molecular engineering at UChicago and co-author of the Nature Nanotechnology article. "Imec has the capability to perform the photolithography at this scale over large areas with high precision," Williamson said.

Back at UIUC, engineers place a block copolymer atop this pattern. The block copolymer self-organizes, directed by the underlying template to form patterns that are at much higher resolution than the template itself.

Previous work has focused on the deposition and assembly of uniform films on each wafer or substrate, resulting in patterns with essentially only one characteristic feature size and spacing between features. But practical applications may need block copolymers of multiple dimensions patterned or spatially placed over a wafer.

"This invention, to use inkjet printing to deposit different block copolymer films with high spatial resolution over the substrate, is highly enabling in terms of device design and manufacturing in that you can realize different dimension structures all in one layer," Nealey said. "Moreover, the different dimension patterns may actually be directed to assemble with either the same or different templates in different regions."

Benefits of e-jet printing

The advanced form of inkjet printing the engineers use to locally deposit block copolymers is called electrohydrodynamic printing, or e-jet printing, which operates much like the inkjet printers office workers use for printing on paper. "The idea is flow of materials from small openings, except e-jet is a special, high-resolution version of ink-jet printers that can print features down to several hundred nanometers," Onses said. And because e-jet can naturally handle fluid inks, it is exceptionally well suited for patterning solution suspensions of nanotubes, nanocrystals, nanowires and other types of nanomaterials.

"The most interesting aspect of this work is the ability to combine 'top down' techniques of jet printing with 'bottom up' processes of self-assembly, in a way that opens up new capabilities in lithography -- applicable to soft and hard materials alike," Rogers said.

"The opportunities are in forming patterned structures of nanomaterials to enable their integration into real devices. I am optimistic about the possibilities."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Chicago. The original article was written by Steve Koppes. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. M. Serdar Onses, Chiho Song, Lance Williamson, Erick Sutanto, Placid M. Ferreira, Andrew G. Alleyne, Paul F. Nealey, Heejoon Ahn, John A. Rogers. Hierarchical patterns of three-dimensional block-copolymer films formed by electrohydrodynamic jet printing and self-assembly. Nature Nanotechnology, 2013; 8 (9): 667 DOI: 10.1038/nnano.2013.160

Cite This Page:

University of Chicago. "Invention jet prints nanostructures with self-assembling material." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 16 September 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/09/130916140419.htm>.
University of Chicago. (2013, September 16). Invention jet prints nanostructures with self-assembling material. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 31, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/09/130916140419.htm
University of Chicago. "Invention jet prints nanostructures with self-assembling material." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/09/130916140419.htm (accessed July 31, 2014).

Share This




More Matter & Energy News

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Britain Testing Driverless Cars on Roadways

Britain Testing Driverless Cars on Roadways

AP (July 30, 2014) British officials said on Wednesday that driverless cars will be tested on roads in as many as three cities in a trial program set to begin in January. Officials said the tests will last up to three years. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Amid Drought, UCLA Sees Only Water

Amid Drought, UCLA Sees Only Water

AP (July 30, 2014) A ruptured 93-year-old water main left the UCLA campus awash in 8 million gallons of water in the middle of California's worst drought in decades. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Smartphone Powered Paper Plane Debuts at Airshow

Smartphone Powered Paper Plane Debuts at Airshow

AP (July 30, 2014) Smartphone powered paper airplane that was popular on crowdfunding website KickStarter makes its debut at Wisconsin airshow (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
U.K. To Allow Driverless Cars On Public Roads

U.K. To Allow Driverless Cars On Public Roads

Newsy (July 30, 2014) Driverless cars could soon become a staple on U.K. city streets, as they're set to be introduced to a few cities in 2015. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



    Save/Print:
    Share:

    Free Subscriptions


    Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

    Get Social & Mobile


    Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

    Have Feedback?


    Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
    Mobile: iPhone Android Web
    Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
    Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
    Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins