In a major breakthrough in nanotechnology, researchers from University of Minnesota have fabricated a single walled carbon nanotube. A research team from Technology Integration and Advanced Nano/Microsystems (TIAN) Lab at the Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Minnesota has taken a step ahead. This team has managed to use IC processes to fabricate a single-walled carbon nanotube abbreviated SWCNT. They have also managed to fabricate the other related suspended beams. Scientists have actually succeeded in creating 3D suspended thin-film structures and 2D micro-patterns and using carbon nanotubes.
In recent years a lot of progress has been made by scholars, researchers, scientists and enthusiasts in the field of nanotechnology. With Mermistors, nano-cones and nano tubes technology Human kind can boast of a significant increase in its knowledge of nano materials and processes. The research team was headed by Prof. Tianhong Cui who is a PhD student. The aim of this research was to find out various materials which are suitable for NEMS and MEMS. The research was also directed in towards studying their mechanical and electrical properties.
The process they have used is very interesting. Scientists have used Polydiallyldimethylammonium chloride (C<sub>24</sub>H<sub>54</sub>Cl<sub>3</sub>N<sub>3</sub>X<sub>2</sub>) as a positive material and SWCNT as a negatively material. This process is a Lithography-compatible layer-by-layer (LbL) nano-self-assembly. Out of this process we get a very thin film. This is etched with Oxygen plasma. This plate then gains a width of about 2 µm with a masking layer of photo-resist applied on it. Thus we get a SWCNT nano-composite stripe pattern with a metal clamp on both ends which are etched with a coating of Silicon dioxide. This layer of Silicon dioxide serves as a sacrificial coating. The overall effect of this process is a decrease in electrical resistance of SWCNT by 22-23% and the young’s modulus is in the range of 500-800GPa.
The “Stiff CNT thin-film micro-patterns and suspended beam architecture” has immense opportunities ahead. For example, considering the outstanding properties of SWCNT, it can be used in the production of various physical sensors. Due to astounding properties of SWCNT it can also be applied in nanoelectromechanical switches.
In my opinion, NEMS and MEMS both have since its inventions have laid a great possibilities in enhancing our capabilities in various sensors and devices. It is one of those fields where research opportunities are never ending. Challenges are too many. To name a few different applications includes Air craft technology, defense, medicine and transportation. Researchers from Minnesota University have laid down an example. It is the need of hour to take initiatives in this direction because the commercial applications will be developed later on, however the concept has to be developed first.