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June 17th, 2007
Breakthrough in nanomachining and organic molecular breakdown
Engineering researchers at the University of Arkansas and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln have discovered a novel nanomachining process that will help manufacturers produce superior nanoscale devices to perform important functions such as detecting DNA and precisely controlling drug release.
The research, to be published in the Physical Review Letters, focuses on the dielectric breakdown of liquid organic molecules introduced during the nanomachining process. Dielectric materials do not conduct electric current.
"Understanding dielectric properties of very thin layers plays a critical role in next-generation electronic devices," said Ajay Malshe, professor of mechanical engineering at the University of Arkansas. "In the past 10 years, the machining process in conductive materials for these devices has been scaled down to the micro level - between 3 and 10 micrometers. With this project, we demonstrated dielectric breakdown for the first time at the nanolevel."
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