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. These stresses tend to get stronger and stronger as the material gets thicker. By using carbon nanotubes as the basis of a device, the material of interest needs only to be deposited to a thickness of approximately half the spacing between the nanotubes (on the order of 100 nm) to form a nearly solid device. The carbon nanotubes are a small fraction of the final volume, and can even be removed in some cases. This microfabrication method opens doors to the use of materials that have previously been excluded from the MEMS world, as well as providing countless other design options such as control over porosity, aspect ratio, and other properties.