Navigation Links
Doping technique brings nanomechanical devices into the semiconductor world

MADISON - With the help of a device capable of depositing metals an atom at a time in the materials used in computer chips, a team of University of Wisconsin-Madison engineers has successfully blended modern semiconductor technology and nanomachines.

The work, reported this week (Sept. 26) in the journal Physica Status Solidi, marks the advent of a new class of nanomechanical devices with implications ranging from improved solar energy cells and light-emitting diodes to highly sensitive probes capable of measuring single biological molecules.

"This is a marriage of two different fields," explains Robert Blick, a UW-Madison professor of electrical and computer engineering. The ability to confer the properties of a semiconductor onto the submicroscopic machines scientists are now learning how to build opens the door to a host of new tiny mechanical devices that can be manipulated with a single electron or, in the case of a biological application, a single molecule such as a protein.

The new work was conducted using a unique device known as a focused ion beam writer, an instrument that, in essence, operates like a sandblaster and can shower a sample of silicon with atoms to impregnate the material with metal in precise patterns at the nanoscale.

In the new study, Blick's group, including lead author of the paper Dominik V. Scheible, was able to deposit a small plume of gallium atoms into a silicon nanomachine and confer electromechanical properties - the ability to drive moving parts with electrons.

"This constitutes a direct combination of mechanical and electric tunability with unprecedented precision," the authors write in the new report. "This will considerably enhance the mechanical properties of (nanomachines)."

At present, nanomechanical devices are sculpted from sandwiches of silicon and metal. The new technique means the metal layer can be removed completely, making the nano devices lighter, more sensitive and easier to manipulate.

"All of a sudden, you're not relying on metal layers anymore," says Blick. "You can dope the device itself, not the material from which the device is made. This technology allows for more customized devices."

The new electromechanical qualities in nanodevices, according to Blick, can be employed in a wide range of applications.

In the biomedical area, for example, where scientists are seeking ways to efficiently measure hundreds of thousands of biological molecules, it may be possible now to build sensors capable of rapidly establishing the masses of single proteins. The mass of a protein, Blick explains, can be enough to activate the nanodevice and provide a measure that scientists can use to quickly and precisely determine the protein's mass.

"The intrinsic mass of the devices themselves is very small," says Blick. "You can hit them with proteins and you can get information out, in this case mass, which is a very important quality."

Other potential applications, Blick notes, include new battery technology, mechanically tunable transistors, improved solar cells and highly sensitive light-emitting diodes that can serve as readouts for microscopic sensors.


Contact: Robert Blick
University of Wisconsin-Madison

Related biology technology :

1. A Simple and Rapid Technique to Purify High-Quality Midiprep DNA
2. Comparison of Growth Techniques and Media for the Purpose of Plasmid Isolation from E. coli Using the Eppendorf Perfectprep Plasmid Mini Kit
3. Temporal Temperature Gradient Electrophoresis: A Powerful Technique to Screen Mutations
4. Fundamentals of Fermentation: Techniques For Benchtop Fermentors
5. A technique for increasing yields in bioreactors and disposable cell-culture systems
6. New MailFoundry product fights latest spam techniques
7. WiCell, California firm agree to distribute stem cell lines derived with new technique
8. NimbleGen Systems CGS technique helps identify stomach bacteria
9. UW-Madison tries new techniques for nanotech
10. Researchers report major advance in gene therapy technique
11. Lucigen aims to fill holes in genetic maps with new technique
Post Your Comments:
(Date:11/25/2015)... LOS ANGELES and HOLLISTON, Mass. ... Regenerative Technology, Inc. (Nasdaq: HART ), a biotechnology ... announced that CEO Jim McGorry will present ... Tuesday, December 1, 2015 at 2:30 p.m. PT. The ... (link below) for 30 days. Management will also be ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... ... November 25, 2015 , ... ... of Black Aerospace Professionals (OPBAP) has been formalized with the signing of a ... leaders met with OPBAP leaders Capt. Karl Minter and Capt. Albert Glenn Tuesday, ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... ... November 25, 2015 , ... Jessica Richman and ... early in their initial angel funding process. Now, they are paying it forward ... make early stage investments in the microbiome space. In this, they join ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... Nov. 24, 2015 Cepheid (NASDAQ: CPHD ... at the following conference, and invited investors to participate ...      Tuesday, December 1, 2015 at 11.00 a.m. ...      Tuesday, December 1, 2015 at 11.00 a.m. ... New York, NY      Tuesday, December ...
Breaking Biology Technology:
(Date:11/17/2015)... , Nov. 17, 2015 Pressure BioSciences, Inc. ... the development and sale of broadly enabling, pressure cycling ... sciences industry, today announced it has received gross proceeds ... million Private Placement (the "Offering"), increasing the total amount ... or more additional closings are expected in the near ...
(Date:11/12/2015)... , Nov. 12, 2015  Arxspan has ... of MIT and Harvard for use of its ... information management tools. The partnership will support the ... biological and chemical research information internally and with ... be used for managing the Institute,s electronic laboratory ...
(Date:11/10/2015)... Nov. 10, 2015  In this report, ... basis of product, type, application, disease indication, ... this report are consumables, services, software. The ... safety biomarkers, efficacy biomarkers, and validation biomarkers. ... are diagnostics development, drug discovery and development, ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):