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Science Technology

Stamping Out Low-Cost Nanodevices 24

Posted by timothy
from the yank-the-crank dept.
RogerRoast writes "Vanderbilt University scientists report that they have developed a simple technique for stamping patterns invisible to the human eye onto a special class of nanomaterials. According to the article, the method works with materials that are riddled with tiny voids that give them unique optical, electrical, chemical and mechanical properties. 'It's amazing how easy it is. We made our first imprint using a regular tabletop vise,' Sharon M. Weiss the lead author said. The article was published in the latest issue of the journal Nano Letters."
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Stamping Out Low-Cost Nanodevices

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  • I prefer to stamp them out with the sole of my shoe,

    Nasty little nanodevices, always getting under the baseboards. Good riddance.

  • by j-beda (85386) on Wednesday June 01, 2011 @07:32AM (#36306594) Homepage

    The title made me think it would be about a way of getting rid of unwanted nanodevices in the environment - maybe some sort of vacuum combined with a filter. Stephenson's "The Diamond Age" has the problems of unwanted nano-machines as one of its themes.

    https://secure.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/wiki/Neal_Stephenson [wikimedia.org]

  • It will be interesting to see if nano-suface treatment to give colour and patterns will one day be able to replace traditional pigment coatings where the coating is purely cosmetic. Time will tell.
    • by vegiVamp (518171)

      Even, maybe especially, if the coating is purely cosmetic, there is bound to be a market of people who want to change their mind all the time.

      If the nanocoating has a high enough refresh time, though, imagine a world where any surface can be used as a screen. The possibilities are endless. Unfortunately the marketeers will think exactly the same thing.

      • by Hylandr (813770)

        I want nano devices with teleporters to hang out in my intestines, transporting in food where it needs to go, and down lower, transporting the results out. These same nano bots can clean my house and maintain my engine at the microscopic level. Working together they could manage my lawn and keep it precisely 3 inches and transport water in as needed. For that matter, with enough of them, we could live in nanite-buildings.

        I see all this coming to a hysterical end the first time someone cracks the system thou

        • by vegiVamp (518171)

          While I like the idea of transporting the end result of feeding out of my body, I damn well wouldn't want to miss the pleasures of eating.

      • imagine a world where any surface can be used as a screen. The possibilities are endless. Unfortunately the marketeers will think exactly the same thing.

        Neal Stephenson already mentioned this in his SF novel "Diamond Age". The end result when every surface was coated with marketing animations was that nothing stood out, so no one noticed anything. Call it the "Geocities effect" or, better, the "Altavista effect".

        Perhaps many don't remember it, but before Google the main search site was Altavista. Its home page was loaded with ads, every one trying to catch your attention with the most obnoxious animation effect. Then Google came with its clean home page and

  • by Gibbs-Duhem (1058152) on Wednesday June 01, 2011 @07:40AM (#36306630)

    Hopefully someone who is on an academic IP address can explain why this is any different than the standard wet-embossing techniques that we've been using to do this kind of thing for the last decade and a half... those SEM images sure look awfully similar to the stuff I was doing back in 2001. Maybe they're just saying that they crush the porous substrate whereas with standard techniques we suck up solvents in substrate inks? That would be kind of neat, although it seems like it'd be limited in utility so I imagine it's more clever than that... do they crush some porous substrate and then manage to lift off the pattern or otherwise remove the crushed portion? Do they have a technique to deposit different substrates on the same device? Otherwise, it's not really going to be useful for most electronics right? I mean, making a pattern of n-type silicon isn't going to make a useful device unless you can deposit p-type and conductor on the same device and manage high degrees of alignment... maybe they mean that this can be used as memory? DIffraction gratings by themselves are rather boring...

    A shame that the article doesn't say what the substrates actually are. I do like the photos of the little tubes, although without a scale bar I'm not sure what I'm looking at.

    • by gr8_phk (621180)

      DIffraction gratings by themselves are rather boring...

      And CDs have been stamped since the 1980s.

      • by certron (57841)

        There is an IBM patent on nano-stamping (which I can't seem to locate due to all the other IBM and stamping patents) which describes a technique developed after noticing that very small errors were being reproduced from the CD plate repeatably in the final produced CDs. I was reading this article at least 8 years ago.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      It's nanoimprint lithography ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nanoimprint_lithography ), but replacing the polymer normally used to record the pattern with a porous material that is crushed.

      The images show various materials - (1) is porous gold, with a feature pitch of 750 nm; (2) is porous silicon with a pitch of 400 nm; (3) is porous titanium dioxide, with the distance from the bottom of the pictures to the start of the pores about 1 micron; (4) isn't in the paper; and (5) is porous silicon with the cube si

  • by giorgist (1208992) on Wednesday June 01, 2011 @07:42AM (#36306638)
    "The article was published in the latest issue of the journal Nano Letters"

    It's one thing not to be able to see the patterns created ... but to post in nano letters is a bit arogant me thinks !!
  • Painless and self-renewing (or maybe reprogrammable!) nano-tattoos coming soon to flesh near you?

    It's certainly been a staple of cyberpunk.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Agent0013 (828350)

      Painless and self-renewing (or maybe reprogrammable!) nano-tattoos coming soon to flesh near you?

      It's certainly been a staple of cyberpunk.

      It's already here. Think geek has a wand that changes an e-Ink tatoo [thinkgeek.com] to a new picture.

    • by gstoddart (321705)

      Painless and self-renewing (or maybe reprogrammable!) nano-tattoos coming soon to flesh near you?

      As someone who has been tattooed multiple times ... I'm against giving people a pain-free way to get one.

      If they were painless, every whiny 16 year old would have full sleeves and back pieces like they were something easy to get.

      They're supposed to hurt, dammit. The pain keeps out the wannabes. ;-)

      (And, believe me, I've heard 18 year old girls getting *tiny* tattoos screeching like they're being mauled by a bea

  • by Anonymous Coward

    "I walked into the room, and he was sitting on the bed, waiting for me. My every desire was to interface my nanite cortex into his receptacle beacon. Things started to heat up, he slid off my outer layers, I recharged his core and we were one. Until I heard a noise at the door, who could that be I wondered? It was Sheila, that freshly stamped tramp of an ex girlfriend...."

  • Welcome our new nano-overlords!

APL hackers do it in the quad.

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