Among the most useful tools for nanotechnology are various scanning probe tips for surface modification.
Archive for the 'MEMS' Category
Posted by Robert Bradbury: Cornell scientists, headed by Harold Craighead, and researchers at Tel Aviv University have a forthcoming paper in Nano Letters regarding the use of nanoscale cantilever oscillators to detect the presence of single DNA molecules weighing ~1 attogram (~995,000 Daltons). PhysOrg discusses it here. Uses may include detecting bacteria or viruses of [...]
Roland Piquepaille writes "NASA is testing a shape-shifting robot called "TETwalker" for tetrahedral walker, because it looks like a flexible pyramid. It has been tested in the lab and at the McMurdo station in Antarctica to test it under conditions more like those on Mars. Now, it is on the way to be — really — miniaturized by using micro- and nano-electro-mechanical systems. These robots will eventually join together to form "autonomous nanotechnology swarms" (ANTS). When it's done, in about thirty years, these nanotech swarms will "alter their shape to flow over rocky terrain or to create useful structures like communications antennae and solar sails." So in 2034, nanotechnology will land on Mars. Read more for other details and references about the TETwalker and the ANTS project."
PhysOrg is reporting that IBM Zurich is showing off its Millipede storage device at CeBIT. For those unfamiliar with this device it uses cantilever arms to read & write a polymer medium.
As the pits that the cantilevers read & write are ~10nm in diameter it is definitely a nanoscale device. The storage density is approximately 1 terabit per sq. inch. That capacity in that size implies that one should be able to fit the contents of a entire college education into a handheld device.
Roland Piquepaille writes "It's an antenna, it's a MEMS device, and it's a macroscopic quantum system. This antenna, made of 50 billion atoms, is so far the largest structure to display quantum mechanical movements. It's also the fastest device of its kind in the world, oscillating about 1.5 billion times per second. Such technology might soon be used in our cell phones. But more importantly, this device bridges classic and quantum physics. Such "mechanical/quantum mechanical hybrids could be used for quantum computing" in the future. Read more for other details, references and a picture showing different views of this world's fastest nanomechanical structure."
Ed. Note: This submission has been edited to correct misleading terms. See first comment.
Roland Piquepaille writes "This sounds almost too good to be true — at least for some time. Physicists from Boston University have fabricated nanomechanical switches which promise fantastic advances in data storage. Their nanodevices will have densities exceeding by orders of magnitude existing storage devices. They will deliver data at speeds in the megahertz (and possibly gigahertz) range, also exceeding by far the few hundred kilohertz of our current hard drives. And finally, they will only use some femtowatts of power each, leading to hard drives consuming maybe a million times less electricity than existing devices. So, where's the catch? Will we ever see hard drives built with these nanomechanical switches? Honestly, I don't know, but read more for other details and references."
Several people, including Roland and Patrick, have pointed out that physicists from Boston University have fabricated nanomechanical switches which promise significant advances in data storage densities (to much greater than 100GB/in2).
Roland Piquepaille writes "Recent developments in nanoelectromechanical systems (NEMS) have typically used vibrating silicon rods so small that they oscillate at radio frequencies. But now, Cornell University researchers have replaced the silicon rod by a carbon nanotube. This new electromechanical oscillator might be capable of weighing a single atom. The oscillator consists "of a carbon nanotube from one to four nanometers in diameter and about one-and-a-half micrometers long, suspended between two electrodes above a conducting silicon plate." Such an oscillator, tunable from 3 to 200 MHz, could be used in future cell phones, which have to change frequently their operating frequencies. The only problem is that the current production of carbon nanotubes is too small for such a huge market. Read more for additional details and references."
Roland Piquepaille writes "Building computer chips which use light instead of electricity will be possible in a few years, thanks to the new techniques developed by two separate research teams from the MIT and Kyoto University. Both have built photonic crystals that can be manufactured using processes suited to mass production. Technology Research News says that "the techniques could be used to make smaller, more efficient communications devices, create optical memory and quantum computing and communications devices, develop new types of lasers and biological and chemical sensors, and could ultimately lead to all-optical computer processors." Please read this overview for more details and references about the two different approaches towards photonic chips, which measure only hundreds of nanometers — right now."
JamGrrl writes "This isn't exactly big news, but this article details many of the problems in getting MEMS to work — specifically, how do you lubercate a machine when the oil molecule itself is just too big? It turns out that alcohol is one useful candidate. An informative read."
from the tuning-tiny-sensors dept.
Nano-Machines Get Some Fresh Air, posted Oct. 1, 2002 to Daily inScight, describes work that could considerably broaden the potential uses of NEMS (nanoelectromechanical) devices. The researchers used laser light shining through a 2 micrometer-square piece of silicon suspended by a pair of 200-nanometer-thick silicon beams to allow the silicon to vibrate at a precise frequency in air, the way that it would vibrate in a vacuum without the laser light. Since a single bacterium or several virus particles stuck to the square would change the vibration frequency, this advance opens the way to developing NEMS devices as ultrasensitive biodetectors.
from the diamond-NEMS-parts? dept.
Gina Miller writes "Silicon Strategies reports in Diamond used to break the mould that a Japanese team has developed a technique to build diamond moulds for what it calls nanoimprint lithography (NIL) to try to print rather than image features on chips. The team uses an electron beam lithography system to produce sub-100nm patterns, and is 'currently preparing a paper describing techniques for patterning three-dimensional diamond moulds.' I guess that we will have to see the paper to know if they have a path toward making diamondoid machinery pieces."
from the sniffing-around-with-nanodevices dept.
Gina Miller writes "Accoring to the Detroit News (Sept. 27, 2002), 9-11 drives advances in nanotechnology: 'The events of Sept. 11 have focused awareness, increased funding and accelerated the commercialization of micro- and nanotechnology devices that can sense minute traces of chemical, biological and nuclear agents in the air or water …' The focus of the article is MEMS and microsystems companies that currently produce handheld devices for monitoring air and water quality, and are working on smaller devices. Will homeland security also push development of molecular manufacturing and medical and other nanobots?"
from the square-one-for-nanotube-chips? dept.
IBM grows nanotube patterns on silicon wafers, a September 30 EETimes article reported that IBM has grown catalyst-free nanotube networks on silicon carbide substrates, producing "grids of nanotubes (in rows and columns), bringing the promise of nanotube transistors arrayed across silicon chips one step closer to reality".
from the Potential-applications-of-MEMS-and-NEMS dept.
Antonio Correia writes "Since July 2002, NEXUS and PHANTOMS have jointly started a concerted action aimed at bridging micro and nanotechnologies. …. The intention is to enable a better understanding of the future potential of nanotechnology in the context of microsystems-driven applications." For more information
The development of optical tweezers for the manipulation of objects at micrometre and submicrometre scales has opened up many new possibilities across the physical and biological sciences. The use of self-reconstructing 'Bessel beams' now extends their potential to allow the simultaneous manipulation of many different objects by a single set of tweezers….
from the rumors-and-speculations dept.
c/net reports Intel to unveil nanotechnology plans at a forum in San Jose next Thursday. A senior vice president of Intel is to reveal previously announced strategies for moving from the current 130-nm chip elements to less than 100-nm elements. The article speculates that unannounced research efforts to be revealed might include carbon nanotube use in chips. A Nanodot post of August 14 2002 reported Intel's first foray into nanotechnology with 'strained silicon' technology.
from the gecko-not-GEICO dept.
JohnPierce writes with an example where scientists studying a biological phenomenon gained an insight that might be useful with microscale and perhaps nanoscale design and fabrication. Scientists Prove How Geckos Stick, Unlock Secrets To Making Artificial Gecko Glue
from the straining-for-speed dept.
Gina Miller writes "Internetnews.com reports that the Santa Clara, Calif. based Intel Corperation is making plans to 'leap into the nanotechnology era' with a 'strained silicon' technology in which the lattice structure of a silicon wafer is strained to stretch the atoms apart, boosting electric current flow and chip performance and lowering costs. This 90 nm process technology will be used to make transistors with gate lengths less than 50 nanometers, and will be used to produce a chip named 'Prescott' that is schedualed to hit the market towards the end of 2003. Some technical details on the process can be downloaded as a PDF file from the Intel site."
from the bridging-small-gaps dept.
Nanotubes grown in place, an article by Eric Smalley in Technology Research News, reports the accomplishment of Stanford University researchers in growing individual carbon nanotubes directly between pairs of electrodes formed on a silicon wafer using photolithography. "The resulting nanotubes were 2.5 nanometers in diameter and spanned electrode gaps ranging from 3,000 to 10,000 nanometers." Anticipated applications include use in sensors, electromechanical transducers, and high frequency mechanical resonators. The research was published in the July 29, 2002 issue of Applied Physics Letters.