Technique could revolutionize nanoelectronics manufacturing
Carnegie Mellon University scientists have harnessed an experimental technology to produce polymer films with long-range-ordered nanostructure and easily convert them into highly ordered "nanocarbon arrays." Called zone casting, this technology could revolutionize the way industrial nanoelectronic components are made. The research findings are in press with the Journal of the American Chemical Society. "Weve found that zone casting produces highly organized polymer films that could serve as templates for creating ordered nanopatterns with other materials," said Tomasz Kowalewski, an assistant professor of chemistry who is leading the Carnegie Mellon team. "The technique could, for example, help produce data storage arrays with increased density and reliability." Kowalewski also expects that zone casting could produce materials for other nanoelectronic devices, like field emission arrays.
To create long-range-ordered films, Kowalewskis team used "block copolymers," which are made of long-chain molecules with distinct "blocks" of chemically different repeating units. To create self-assembling nanostructures from block copolymers, Kowalewski used molecules with blocks that naturally repel one another, like oil and water. Such copolymer strands spontaneously assume energetically favorable structures, like balls, cylinders or sheets.
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