Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Innovative fountain pen writes on the nanoscale

27.04.2005


The first practical fountain pen was invented in 1884 by Lewis Waterman. Although pens with self-contained ink reservoirs had existed for more than a hundred years before his invention, they suffered from ink leaks and other troubles. Waterman solved these problems by inventing the capillary feed which produced even ink flow. Now fountain pen history is repeating itself in the tiny world of nanoscale writing.



Researchers at Northwestern University have demonstrated writing at the sub-100 nanometer molecular scale in fountain-pen fashion. They developed a novel atomic force microscope (AFM) probe chip with an integrated microfluidic system for capillary feeding of molecular ink. Their results are published online by Small, a new journal dedicated to breakthroughs in nanoscience and engineering (http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/smll.200500027).

Dip-pen nanolithography (DPN) has been well-known for its capability of high-resolution direct writing as a bottom-up nanofabrication technique. The DPN technique exploits controlled deposition of molecules from an AFM tip to a surface. However, the need of replenishing ink whenever exhausted has been a limiting feature. Various attempts have been reported to overcome such a drawback, but none of them reached molecular patterns with features smaller than 100 nanometers.


The Nanofountain Probe (NFP) developed by Horacio D. Espinosa, professor of mechanical engineering, and his colleagues employs a volcano-like dispensing tip and capillary fed solutions to enable sub-100 nanometer molecular writing. The NFP was microfabricated on a chip to be mounted on commercially available AFMs. The device consists of an on-chip reservoir, microchannels and a volcano-like dispensing tip. The microchannels are embedded in the AFM cantilevers of the chip and the volcano dispensing tip has an annular aperture to guide ink dispensing. The ink on the reservoir is driven through the microchannel via capillary action to reach the dispensing tip. At present, the smallest feature width achieved with the device is 40 nanometers.

The standard microfabrication techniques used for the NFP chip -- an important feature of this development -- provides scalability to massively parallel arrays of probes and reservoirs for high throughput patterning with multiple molecular inks.

"The writing capability of such NFP arrays with chemical and bimolecular inks in fountain-pen mode is unique," said Espinosa. "We believe the technology will likely lead to many high-impact applications in the field of nanosensors, biotechnology and pharmaceuticals."

In addition to Espinosa, other authors on the Small paper are graduate student Keun-Ho Kim and research assistant professor of mechanical engineering Nicolaie A. Moldovan, both from Northwestern.

Megan Fellman | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.northwestern.edu

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht Only an atom thick: Physicists succeed in measuring mechanical properties of 2D monolayer materials
17.01.2018 | Universität des Saarlandes

nachricht Black hole spin cranks-up radio volume
15.01.2018 | National Institutes of Natural Sciences

All articles from Physics and Astronomy >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Scientists decipher key principle behind reaction of metalloenzymes

So-called pre-distorted states accelerate photochemical reactions too

What enables electrons to be transferred swiftly, for example during photosynthesis? An interdisciplinary team of researchers has worked out the details of how...

Im Focus: The first precise measurement of a single molecule's effective charge

For the first time, scientists have precisely measured the effective electrical charge of a single molecule in solution. This fundamental insight of an SNSF Professor could also pave the way for future medical diagnostics.

Electrical charge is one of the key properties that allows molecules to interact. Life itself depends on this phenomenon: many biological processes involve...

Im Focus: Paradigm shift in Paris: Encouraging an holistic view of laser machining

At the JEC World Composite Show in Paris in March 2018, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT will be focusing on the latest trends and innovations in laser machining of composites. Among other things, researchers at the booth shared with the Aachen Center for Integrative Lightweight Production (AZL) will demonstrate how lasers can be used for joining, structuring, cutting and drilling composite materials.

No other industry has attracted as much public attention to composite materials as the automotive industry, which along with the aerospace industry is a driver...

Im Focus: Room-temperature multiferroic thin films and their properties

Scientists at Tokyo Institute of Technology (Tokyo Tech) and Tohoku University have developed high-quality GFO epitaxial films and systematically investigated their ferroelectric and ferromagnetic properties. They also demonstrated the room-temperature magnetocapacitance effects of these GFO thin films.

Multiferroic materials show magnetically driven ferroelectricity. They are attracting increasing attention because of their fascinating properties such as...

Im Focus: A thermometer for the oceans

Measurement of noble gases in Antarctic ice cores

The oceans are the largest global heat reservoir. As a result of man-made global warming, the temperature in the global climate system increases; around 90% of...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

10th International Symposium: “Advanced Battery Power – Kraftwerk Batterie” Münster, 10-11 April 2018

08.01.2018 | Event News

See, understand and experience the work of the future

11.12.2017 | Event News

Innovative strategies to tackle parasitic worms

08.12.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Polymers Based on Boron?

18.01.2018 | Life Sciences

Bioengineered soft microfibers improve T-cell production

18.01.2018 | Life Sciences

World’s oldest known oxygen oasis discovered

18.01.2018 | Earth Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>