Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors

Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button

Home > Press > "Nature-Made" Computers Clark School Engineers Teach Nature to "Grow" High-Tech Components

Template self-organization--cylindrical pits on a silicon surface.
Template self-organization--cylindrical pits on a silicon surface.

Abstract:
Computers don't grow on trees, but with a little prodding from engineers, nature can produce computer components.

"Nature-Made" Computers Clark School Engineers Teach Nature to "Grow" High-Tech Components

COLLEGE PARK, MD | Posted on October 30th, 2007

At the University of Maryland's A. James Clark School of Engineering, Ray Phaneuf, associate professor of materials science and engineering, has developed a template nature can follow to produce "self-assembling" structures. The template causes atoms to be arranged in a defined pattern that can serve a variety of purposes—a semiconductor in a laptop, a component in a cell phone or a sensor in a wearable device.

The idea of self-assembly in nature has long been known—crystallization is one such process; the formation of shells into spirals is another. However, researchers have been limited to the designs that nature already knows how to make. Phaneuf's work introduces a man-made template that nature then follows, addressing a number of manufacturing difficulties.

Patterned silicon surfaces."While we understand how to make working nanoscale devices, making things out of a countable number of atoms takes a long time," Phaneuf said. "Industry needs to be able to mass-produce them on a practical time scale."

The template process can be used by device manufacturers to mass-produce tiny components rapidly and efficiently, reduce costs, shrink device sizes, and improve devices' functionality in ways previously not possible.

"The same template can be used thousands of times," Phaneuf said. "This results in enormous savings."

Phaneuf says his work is one step in a "cocktail" approach to computer assembly—an engineer's dream in which one could "mix-up" a computer the same way one mixes a drink.

"Imagine you shake up a cocktail and spill it onto a table," Phaneuf said. "The liquid will collect in pools in a manner designated by nature.

"Now imagine that first you coated the table with wax and scraped a pattern into it. Now when you spill the liquid onto the table, it collects in the pattern you scraped into the wax—it assumes the form you want it to take. When we apply this idea to manufacturing nanoscale computer components, collections of atoms become ordered, accessible, controllable and reproducible—characteristics crucial to their use in high-tech devices."

These devices could include those used in the growing field of quantum computing, which is believed to hold promise for carrying out exceptionally difficult mathematical processes, Phaneuf said. An application of the templates might be self-assembly of coupled quantum dots to form "qubits," the building blocks of quantum computers. According to Phaneuf, templating could be used to make the manufacture of this highly complicated system more feasible: "Addressing individual qubits might be done optically, to get around the problem of trying to wire them all up."

Phaneuf's work focuses on silicon and gallium arsenide components. Silicon is the prevalent material for components in computers while gallium arsenide is used more often in cell phones.

The templates are created using photolithography (a process akin to photography, in which the template is chemically developed after being exposed to light) and etching, or by "nanoscraping," in which an atomic force microscope is used to selectively scrape the pattern into the template.

####

About A. James Clark School of Engineering
The Clark School of Engineering, situated on the rolling, 1,500-acre University of Maryland campus in College Park, Md., is one of the premier engineering schools in the U.S.

The Clark School's graduate programs are collectively the fastest rising in the nation. In U.S. News & World Report's annual rating of graduate programs, the school is 15th among public and private programs nationally, 9th among public programs nationally and first among public programs in the mid-Atlantic region. The School offers 13 graduate programs and 12 undergraduate programs, including degree and certification programs tailored for working professionals.

The school is home to one of the most vibrant research programs in the country. With major emphasis in key areas such as communications and networking, nanotechnology, bioengineering, reliability engineering, project management, intelligent transportation systems and space robotics, as well as electronic packaging and smart small systems and materials, the Clark School is leading the way toward the next generations of engineering advances.

Visit the Clark School homepage at http://www.eng.umd.edu .

For more information, please click here

Contacts:
Missy Corley
(301) 405-6501


Lee Tune
301-405-4679

Copyright © A. James Clark School of Engineering

If you have a comment, please Contact us.

Issuers of news releases, not 7th Wave, Inc. or Nanotechnology Now, are solely responsible for the accuracy of the content.

Bookmark:
Delicious Digg Newsvine Google Yahoo Reddit Magnoliacom Furl Facebook

Related Links

"Templating for Directed Self Assembly"

Ray Phaneuf's Research Group

Related News Press

Chip Technology

A nanoscale wireless communication system via plasmonic antennas: Greater control affords 'in-plane' transmission of waves at or near visible light August 27th, 2016

A promising route to the scalable production of highly crystalline graphene films August 26th, 2016

Analog DNA circuit does math in a test tube: DNA computers could one day be programmed to diagnose and treat disease August 25th, 2016

Silicon nanoparticles trained to juggle light: Research findings prove the capabilities of silicon nanoparticles for flexible data processing in optical communication systems August 25th, 2016

Self Assembly

Smarter self-assembly opens new pathways for nanotechnology: Brookhaven Lab scientists discover a way to create billionth-of-a-meter structures that snap together in complex patterns with unprecedented efficiency August 9th, 2016

Magnetic atoms arranged in neat rows: FAU physicists enable one-dimensional atom chains to grow August 5th, 2016

Accurate design of large icosahedral protein nanocages pushes bioengineering boundaries: Scientists used computational methods to build ten large, two-component, co-assembling icosahedral protein complexes the size of small virus coats July 25th, 2016

WSU researchers develop shape-changing 'smart' material: Heat, light stimulate self-assembly July 4th, 2016

Quantum Computing

Light and matter merge in quantum coupling: Rice University physicists probe photon-electron interactions in vacuum cavity experiments August 24th, 2016

Prototype chip could help make quantum computing practical: Built-in optics could enable chips that use trapped ions as quantum bits August 9th, 2016

Diamond-based light sources will lay a foundation for quantum communications of the future: Electrified quantum diamond can become the heart of quantum networks and computers of the future August 7th, 2016

Record-breaking logic gate 'another important milestone' on road to quantum computers August 7th, 2016

Discoveries

A promising route to the scalable production of highly crystalline graphene films August 26th, 2016

Graphene under pressure August 26th, 2016

Nanofur for oil spill cleanup: Materials researchers learn from aquatic ferns: Hairy plant leaves are highly oil-absorbing / publication in bioinspiration & biomimetics / video on absorption capacity August 25th, 2016

Unraveling the crystal structure of a -70° Celsius superconductor, a world first: Significant advancement in the realization of room-temperature superconductors August 25th, 2016

Announcements

A nanoscale wireless communication system via plasmonic antennas: Greater control affords 'in-plane' transmission of waves at or near visible light August 27th, 2016

Forces of nature: Interview with microscopy innovators Gerd Binnig and Christoph Gerber August 26th, 2016

A promising route to the scalable production of highly crystalline graphene films August 26th, 2016

Graphene under pressure August 26th, 2016

NanoNews-Digest
The latest news from around the world, FREE




  Premium Products
NanoNews-Custom
Only the news you want to read!
 Learn More
NanoTech-Transfer
University Technology Transfer & Patents
 Learn More
NanoStrategies
Full-service, expert consulting
 Learn More











ASP
Nanotechnology Now Featured Books




NNN

The Hunger Project







Car Brands
Buy website traffic