BYU Nano Group Projects

Chemical Surface Paterning

Chemical surface patterning at the nanoscale is a critical component of chemically directed assembly of nanoscale devices or sensitive biological molecules onto surfaces. Here we present a scanning probe lithography technique that allows for patterning of aqueous polymers on glass or silicon dioxide surfaces. The surfaces were functionalized by covalently bonding a silane monolayer with a known surface charge to either a glass slide or a silicon wafer.

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CNT Microfabrication

Carbon nanotube micro structures

We have developed a surprisingly diverse microfabrication technique that uses carbon nanotubes as scaffolding. The power of this method is that devices with extremely high aspect ratios can be created from out of many different materials using the same base process to define the geometry. Many materials prove nearly impossible to use as the basis of a reasonable structure, because internal stresses build within them as they are deposited.

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CNT Purification

Single walled carbon nanotube purification

The single-walled carbon nanotube is a promising medium in the field of nanoelectronics. However, even the most advanced production methods yield aggregates of both metallic and semiconducting species. If carbon nanotubes are to be used in electrical applications, it is essential that they be isolated according to their electrical conductivity.

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Parallel Dielectrophoresis for carbon nanotube placement

One of the barriers to carbon nanotube electrical device fabrication is the difficulty in controllably placing the nanotubes in the correct positions to form a circuit. Laboratories have found methods to place individual nanotubes, but these methods take hours of man power for each nanotube placement, and are thus suitable only for research and are not scalable.

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Nanoscale Structures

Nanoscale high aspect ratio structures have possible applications in microfluidic channels, batteries, and fuel cells, among others. We present methods to create 3:1 aspect ratio structures in transparent materials that will withstand temperatures needed for CVD or ALD processes; including contact molding, spin and etch back, and replica molding.

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Interstitial Filling

Filled infiltrated carbon nanotube forest device

The nanotubes by themselves are not bound together and thus do not form a durable structure, but they can be coated in other materials through various processes such as Chemical Vapor Deposition (CVD) or Electroplating. This has huge advantages because many materials cannot be deposited to high thicknesses without developing too much stress and tearing themselves apart, but when coating carbon nanotubes the filler material need only be deposited to a thickness of a few hundred nanometers in order to form a solid structure of nearly any desired size.

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TEM image of magnetic alloy nanoparticles

Many metal alloys can form in chemically ordered structures, often resulting in significant changes in properties. The ordered structures are preferred at low temperatures and will go through an order-disorder phase transition at a critical temperature. The formation and stability of these ordered structures in alloy nanoparticles is not well understood but may give insight into the role size plays in phase transitions.

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Carbon nanotube Micro Electro Mechanical Systems MEMS

A new approach to the fabrication of microelectronic mechanical devices (MEMS) is a bottom-up design using carbon nanotubes (CNTs). A substrate, typically silicon, is prepared for MEMS construction by first depositing a sacrificial layer of SiO2 for release. Then a 30nm layer of Al2O3 is deposited as a diffusion barrier for the CNT catalyst material (Fe).

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