Science News
from research organizations

Laser technique for low-cost self-assembly of nanostructures

Date:
May 25, 2015
Source:
Swinburne University of Technology
Summary:
A low-cost technique that holds promise for a range of scientific and technological applications has been developed by scientists. They have combined laser printing and capillary force to build complex, self-assembling microstructures using a technique called laser printing capillary-assisted self-assembly (LPCS).
Share:
FULL STORY

Researchers from Swinburne University of Technology and the University of Science and Technology of China have developed a low-cost technique that holds promise for a range of scientific and technological applications.

They have combined laser printing and capillary force to build complex, self-assembling microstructures using a technique called laser printing capillary-assisted self-assembly (LPCS).

This type of self-assembly is seen in nature, such as in gecko feet and the salvinia leaf, and scientists have been trying to mimic these multi-functional structures for decades.

The researchers have found they can control capillary force -- the tendency of a liquid to rise in narrow tubes or be drawn into small openings -- by changing the surface structure of a material.

"Using laser printing techniques we can control the size, geometry, elasticity and distance between tiny pillars -- narrower than the width of a human hair -- to get the self-assembly that we want," lead author of a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science , Swinburne's Dr Yanlei Hu, said.

Ultrafast laser printing produces an array of vertical nanorods of varying heights. After the laser process, the material is washed in a development solvent using a method similar to traditional darkroom film processing. The gravity-governed capillary force difference creates pillars of unequal physical properties along different axes.

"A possible application of these structures is in on-chip micro-object trap-release systems which are in demand in chemical analysis and biomedical devices," co-author Dr Ben Cumming said.

The researchers demonstrated the ability of the LPCS structures to selectively capture and release micro-particles.

"This hybrid strategy for preparing hierarchical structures features simplicity, scalability and high flexibility in comparison to other state-of the-art approaches such as photolithography, electron-beam lithography and template replicating," Director of the Centre for Micro-Photonics at Swinburne, Professor Min Gu, said.

"Moreover, the assembled cells can be used as automatic micro-grippers for selective trapping and controllable releasing, suggesting many potential applications in the field of chemistry, biomedicine and micro-fluidic engineering."


Story Source:

Materials provided by Swinburne University of Technology. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Yanlei Hu, Zhaoxin Lao, Benjamin P. Cumming, Dong Wu, Jiawen Li, Haiyi Liang, Jiaru Chu, Wenhao Huang, Min Gu. Laser printing hierarchical structures with the aid of controlled capillary-driven self-assembly. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2015; 201503861 DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1503861112

Cite This Page:

Swinburne University of Technology. "Laser technique for low-cost self-assembly of nanostructures." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 25 May 2015. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/05/150525095330.htm>.
Swinburne University of Technology. (2015, May 25). Laser technique for low-cost self-assembly of nanostructures. ScienceDaily. Retrieved May 26, 2017 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/05/150525095330.htm
Swinburne University of Technology. "Laser technique for low-cost self-assembly of nanostructures." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/05/150525095330.htm (accessed May 26, 2017).

RELATED STORIES