This Scalable NanoManufacturing research project will investigate digital optofluidic self-assembly processes for manufacturing heterogeneous metamaterials with sophisticated building blocks in composition, dimension and geometry, while achieving desired orientation and spatial distribution over large area. Specifically our research approaches are: 1) Digital in-flow nanoimprint lithography processes for massive fabrication of heterogeneous metablocks; 2) Plasmonic enhanced parallel digital optical trapping and directed assembly of metablocks; 3)Theoretical modeling and experimental study of the optofluidic self assembly processes for switchable and active materials; 4) characterization of self assembled metamaterial for communication and energy application and scale up analysis. If successful, this approach will move from trial-and-error assemblies of academic interest to the creation of large-scale devices with improved performance.
This project focuses on one of the most promising breakthroughs in the field of nanophotonics: heterogeneous metamaterials to transform, manipulate and concentrate light and acoustic fields. If successful, our research would transform the vision of metamaterials from lab science to a commercial reality. It will have profound impact on a broad range of applications in telecommunication, quantum computing and energy. A research consortium will be formed with industry partners and national labs to foster the technology transfer pathways for translating the technologies developed in this project. The educational objective is to empower the next generation of engineers and educate them to become part of a world-class workforce, with knowledge and enthusiasm of nanomanufacturing innovation. Besides new courses and undergraduate research opportunities, a two week workshop will be organized with a combined summer school and both will be located in the New England Area. As part of outreach efforts, an exhibition of active nanomaterials will be organized at the Boston Science Museum.