"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