The objective of this program is to develop a new type of optoelectronic nano-hand by integrating fiber optics, electronics, and NEMS/MEMS (nano- or micro- electromechanical systems) in a unified platform. The PIs plan to carry out four core research tasks. First, they will demonstrate a prototype optoelectronic nanohand. Second, they will investigate its optical waveguiding properties. Third, they will investigate optical force exerted by laser beam delivered by the nanohand. Finally, they will investigate in situ electrical and optical characterization, and explore the application of the nanohand.
The intellectual merit is the demonstration and development of new capability to manipulate, control, and characterize individual nanoscale objects. The proposed nanohand has several unique features. It has a large aspect ratio and is free of substrate support. The nanohand has multiple independently controlled nano-actuators or fingers. An object can also be potentially controlled by auxiliary optical force. Finally, electric measurements and optical characterization can be performed to probe a single clenched nanoscale object in situ.
The broader impacts are as follows. The proposed nanohand represents a new class of multi-functional nano-manipulators and can have significant impact on several areas including NEMS/MEMS, optics, and bioengineering. It can open new possibilities for realizing nano-opto-electro-mechanical and nano-robotic systems, for assembling complex three-dimensional nanostructures, and for probing the properties of nanoscale systems and devices at a single nanoparticle or single nanowire level. The multi-disciplinary nature of the proposed research also makes this program an excellent opportunity to educate and train students.