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Building Better Nanodevices

Realizing the full potential of nanodevices will require the ability to place individual elements that are much smaller than the width of a human hair in precise, 3-D configurations.  We have developed new materials that allow us to use light and/or electric fields to position individual micro- or nanostructures in precise locations in three dimensions and then to lock them into place using short pulses of light from a laser.  This “trap-and-zap” scheme is being used to create new types of optical, electronic and mechanical devices based on nanotechnology.  Shown here are 2D pattern (top), a 3D cube (middle), and a “needle and thread” (bottom) created with this technique.
2D pattern

3D cube

Needle and thread