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New Process For Creating Micro- and Nanostructures On 3-D Materials Developed
November 9, 2016

A process for creating micro- and nanostructures on 3-D objects holds great promise to usher in new nano-enabled applications in advanced materials and biotechnology.

Gold-coated glass shows structural coloration, which happens due to the diffraction of light off surface nanostructures.

The work, published in the journal Nanoscale in July, drastically reduces costs while speeding the production process by four to six orders of magnitude, compared to current state of the art techniques, according to Virginia Tech mechanical engineering doctoral student Zhou Ye; his advisor, Associate Professor Bahareh Behkam; and their collaborator, Associate Professor Amrinder Nain.

Their process, called Spun-Wrapped Aligned Nanofiber (SWAN) lithography, can fabricate micro- and nanostructures on the entire surface of any 3-D object by applying polymer fiber that is about 500 times smaller than the diameter of human hair over an object, followed by etching areas of the object not covered by the fiber and then removing the fiber itself, thus resulting in a nanotextured gold surface.

Prof. Behkam contends the current commercially available systems for creating nanostructures typically take 10,000 to 1 million times as long. That means what SWAN lithography can do in one minute, the others would spend 166 hours or 694 days to accomplish.

Currently, Prof. Behkam and her team are speaking with industry to further develop the patent-pending technology and bring it to the next step for wide-scale use in everything from camera lenses and aircraft wings, to ship hulls, solar panels, and biomedical devices and implants.

This story can be found on the Virginia Tech News website.

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