A basic research investigator funded by AFOSR since 1997, Dr. Mirkin pioneered the field of Dip-Pen Nanolithography (DPN) with his seminal research highlighted in the journal Science in January 1999. DPN is a technology that builds nanoscale structures and patterns by drawing molecules directly onto a substrate. This process was achieved by employing an Atomic Force Microscope (AFM), the tip of which has the innate capability to precisely place items and draw lines at the nanoscale level. The Atomic Force Microscope was basically an extremely small paint brush. Mirkin's fundamental contribution was recognizing that it could be used to print structures on a surface through materials- rather than energy- delivery though with the latter being the approach taken by all previous researchers.
Since 1999, the Mirkin DPN process has changed dramatically. His current inventions have eliminated the need for cantilevers and rely on arrays of soft pyramids made in the form of an elastomeric stamp adhered to a transparent flat backing layer. This Polymer Pen Lithography (PPL) technique permits a Massively Parallel Dip-Pen Nanolithography capability resulting in high resolution, high throughput and mask-free nanofabrication. By putting thermal and electrostatic actuators on the pens, it allows for the specific control of individual or group pen placement, so that highly customized structures can be made. In subsequent years, those highly customized structures and related enhanced procedures have blossomed into a wide variety of research interests, to include: biomedical and human performance applications, environmental sensors/remediation materials, production of electronics/photonics materials, security devices, energy harvesting and storage applications, a
|Contact: Robert White|
Air Force Office of Scientific Research