Pro­to­type will be show­cased at Nano Sci­ence & Tech­nology Institute’s Nan­otech 2008 Con­fer­ence in Boston at Booth #211

May 29, 2008 – Researchers at the NSF Nanoscale Sci­ence and Engi­neering Center for High-​​rate Nanoman­u­fac­turing (CHN) at North­eastern Uni­ver­sity, with part­ners UMass Lowell and Uni­ver­sity of New Hamp­shire, have dis­cov­ered an inno­v­a­tive tech­nology that will have a tremen­dous impact on the nan­otech­nology industry. Under the direc­tion of Ahmed Bus­naina, Ph.D., researchers devel­oped a tech­nique to scale-​​up the directed assembly of single-​​walled carbon nan­otube (SWNT) net­works, from microns to inches, cre­ating a viable cir­cuit tem­plate that can be trans­ferred from one sub­strate to another for optimum pro­duc­tivity. The rev­o­lu­tionary assembly process has the poten­tial to change the way elec­tronics and other appli­ca­tions are devel­oped for consumers.

This leading research and the work of the CHN partner schools, UMass Lowell and the Uni­ver­sity of New Hamp­shire, will be on dis­play at Booth #211 at the upcoming NSTI Nan­otech 2008 Con­fer­ence in Boston from June 1–5, 2008.

Ways to create nanoscale struc­tures, and develop a method to mass-​​produce those struc­tures while ensuring that they are reli­able and cost-​​effective, are top pri­or­i­ties for the nan­otech­nology industry. One of four NSF funded nanoman­u­fac­turing cen­ters in the country, the CHN has been able to develop a novel way to assemble these nanoele­ments (nan­otubes, nanopar­ti­cles, etc.) into nanos­truc­tures and devices that enable the mass pro­duc­tion of atomic-​​scale struc­tures and will lead to the pro­duc­tion of devices such as biosen­sors, bat­teries, memory devices and flex­ible elec­tronics very quickly and effi­ciently and with min­imal errors.

This tech­nology is a plat­form for many appli­ca­tions, and the fact that it is scal­able makes it easier to bring to market,” said Bus­naina, William Lin­coln Smith Pro­fessor and Director of the CHN. “The cost of cur­rent nanoman­u­fac­turing tech­niques is sky high, and our product has the poten­tial to increase pro­duc­tivity tremen­dously without sac­ri­ficing reliability.”

The rev­o­lu­tionary assembly process, devel­oped by Bus­naina and his team, scales-​​up the nanoscale struc­tures on a wafer level on a variety of hard and soft sub­strates such as sil­icon and poly­mers. In addi­tion, the assem­bled struc­tures could also be trans­ferred to other sub­strates in con­tin­uous or batch processes.

Con­cur­rently, researchers at the CHN are inves­ti­gating the envi­ron­mental and bio­log­ical impli­ca­tions to ensure that these devices and tech­niques are safe for people and for the environment.

Other projects that researchers at CHN are working on include:

*Nano-​​biochips to detect and treat cancer and other diseases

*Thin, light­weight and fast-​​charging bat­teries with a longer life than cur­rent batteries

*Flex­ible PDAs and phones

*Flex­ible light­weight solar col­lec­tors that can power homes

*Super-​​tiny memory devices that resist heat, cold, mag­netic fields and vibra­tions that can be used to create smaller machines

*Sturdy, light­weight mate­rials to replace metal in air­craft or auto­mo­biles, cre­ating stronger struc­tures with less weight

While many of these appli­ca­tions are years away, some may come more quickly. “The role of our research is piv­otal in bringing nanoscale inven­tions to market,” added Bus­naina. “Some of what we are working on, like biosen­sors and bat­teries, could be avail­able as soon as the next 3–5 years. There is a world of pos­si­bil­i­ties for addi­tional ways that nan­ode­vices can improve cur­rent ways of life.”

For more infor­ma­tion about SWNT research at North­eastern, please con­tact Jenny Eriksen at (617) 373‑2802 or via email at j.​eriksen@​neu.​edu.

About the Center for High-​​rate Nanomanufacturing

The Center for High-​​rate Nanoman­u­fac­turing is focused on devel­oping tools and processes that will enable high-​​rate/​high-​​volume bottom-​​up, pre­cise, par­allel assembly of nanoele­ments (such as carbon nan­otubes, nanopar­ti­cles, etc.) and polymer nanos­truc­tures. The center’s nan­otem­plates are uti­lized to con­duct fast mas­sive directed assembly of nanoscale ele­ments by con­trol­ling the forces required to assemble, detach, and transfer nanoele­ments at high rates and over large areas. The devel­oped nan­otem­plates and tools will accel­erate the cre­ation of highly antic­i­pated com­mer­cial prod­ucts and will enable the cre­ation of an entirely new gen­er­a­tion of applications.

About North­eastern University

Founded in 1898, North­eastern Uni­ver­sity is a pri­vate research uni­ver­sity located in the heart of Boston. North­eastern is a leader in inter­dis­ci­pli­nary research, urban engage­ment, and the inte­gra­tion of class­room learning with real-​​world expe­ri­ence. The university’s dis­tinc­tive coop­er­a­tive edu­ca­tion pro­gram, where stu­dents alter­nate semes­ters of full-​​time study with semes­ters of paid work in fields rel­e­vant to their pro­fes­sional inter­ests and major, is one of the largest and most inno­v­a­tive in the world.The Uni­ver­sity offers a com­pre­hen­sive range of under­grad­uate and grad­uate pro­grams leading to degrees through the doc­torate in six under­grad­uate col­leges, eight grad­uate schools, and two part-​​time divisions.For more infor­ma­tion, please visit www​.north​eastern​.edu.