New Nanoscale Assembly Discovered, Could Advance Nanotechnology Use For Medicine, Energy Generation

First Posted: Dec 23, 2016 03:17 AM EST

The scientists from the U.S. Department of Energy's Brookhaven National Laboratory developed a new and efficient way to produce scalable, multi-patterned and multilayer nanoscale structures. The team has used self-assembly, in which the materials are snapped together freely to form the desired structure. On the other hand, each self-assembled layer guides the configuration of additional layers.

The findings of the discovery were printed in the journal Nature Communications. This discovery could potentially advance the nanotechnology for medicine, energy generation and other applications.

Kevin Yager, the scientists from Brookhaven Lab's Center For Functional Nanomaterials (CFN), said that there is something amazing and rewarding about creating structures no one has ever seen before. They are calling this responsive layering like building a tower. On the other hand, each brick is intelligent and contains instructions for subsequent bricks.

Nanomaterials are materials with a single unit that is sized between 1 and 1,000 nanometers but is usually 1 nm to 100 nm. Building these nanomaterials requires extraordinary accuracy. The materials with a structure at the nanoscale have distinctive electronic, optical or mechanical properties. These nanomaterials are now becoming commercialized and emerging as commodities.

Meanwhile, in the study, Atikur Rahman, the lead author of the study, explained that the trick was chemically "sealing" every layer to make it strong enough that the additional layers do not disrupt it. He further explained that this granted them unparalleled control and they can now stack any sequence of self-organized layers to create increasingly intricate 3D structures.

This ordering of self-assembly is faster and easier than the other nanofabrication methods like the lithography. Gregory Doerk, the co-author of the study, said that self-assembly is inexpensive and scalable because it is driven by intrinsic interactions. He further said that they avoid the complex tool that is traditionally used to carve precise nano-structures, according to 

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