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Assembly technique for tiny wires may eventually help detect cancer and other diseases
Date:3/7/2008

issue of Nature Nanotechnology. They fabricated these proof-of-concept chips with nanowires made of single crystal silicon or polycrystalline rhodium attached at one end and suspended over a depression. This type of device can detect target molecules when they bind to the probe molecules on the nanowires and change the wire's vibration.

To create the bottom-up diving board resonators, the researchers used a layer of photoresist a light-sensitive material which, when exposed to light, can then be easily removed chemically to create an array of tiny rectangular wells on the chip. These wells were aligned above an insulated electrode on the chip surface. A solution of nanowires, with probes already attached, flows over the chip surface while the electrodes produce an electric field. The electric field grabs the nanowires and pulls them to the surface where they align perpendicular to the electrode. The aligned nanowires skate along the electrodes and when they reach a well, drop down into it.

Once a wire is in a well, that wire repels other wires allowing, for the most part, only one wire per well. The number of wires in the solution is controlled depending on the number of wells so only a few wires remain on the chip outside the wells.

"One of the biggest challenges of self assembly is whether we can control where the wires go and control the defects," says Mayer, associate director of Penn State's Material Research Institute and director of Penn State's site of the National Science Foundation's National Nanotechnology Infrastructure Network. "This new method allows integration of the nanowires with high yield."

In the case of the resonators, once the wires are in the depressions, the researchers switch to a top-down approach, placing a layer of a different photoresist on top of the chip and removing a small cube of photoresist around the tip where the wire anchor will be built. The researchers then electro-deposit metal into th
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Contact: A'ndrea Elyse Messer
aem1@psu.edu
814-865-9481
Penn State
Source:Eurekalert

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