Katherine Bourzac

A View from Katherine Bourzac

First 3-D Patterned Nanostructures

Patterned tin and nickel panels self-assemble into nanoboxes.

  • August 20, 2009

Chemists have become very skilled at building 2-D nanostructures, but making 3-D patterned structures for drug delivery, electronics and other applications has proved more challenging. In particular, no one has been able to make 3-D structures with patterned surfaces.

Varying etching conditions influences the angles formed by the
panels in these nanoboxes. The left column is a close-up of the
tin hinge material. The other columns show the boxes at
different magnifications. The panels are patterned with the letters
“JHU” with line-widths of 15 nanometers. Credit: ACS/Nano Letters

David Gracias and Jeong-Hyun Cho of Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore have overcome this problem. They first made arrays of patterned, cross-shaped nickel structures on a silicon wafer, then added tin hinges. When placed in a plasma etching chamber, the flat structures folded up into cubes and released from the wafer. To make nanocubes as small as 100 nanometers a side, the researchers added another panel.

The work is described online in the journal Nano Letters, where the researchers write that it should apply to other polyhedral shapes as well.

Tech Obsessive?
Become an Insider to get the story behind the story — and before anyone else.

Subscribe today

Uh oh–you've read all of your free articles for this month.

Insider Premium
$179.95/yr US PRICE

Want more award-winning journalism? Subscribe to Insider Plus.
  • Insider Plus {! insider.prices.plus !}*

    {! insider.display.menuOptionsLabel !}

    Everything included in Insider Basic, plus ad-free web experience, select discounts to partner offerings and MIT Technology Review events

    See details+

    What's Included

    Bimonthly magazine delivery and unlimited 24/7 access to MIT Technology Review’s website

    The Download: our daily newsletter of what's important in technology and innovation

    Access to the magazine PDF archive—thousands of articles going back to 1899 at your fingertips

    Special discounts to select partner offerings

    Discount to MIT Technology Review events

    Ad-free web experience

/
You've read all of your free articles this month. This is your last free article this month. You've read of free articles this month. or  for unlimited online access.