This grant supports research that contributes fundamental new knowledge in the manufacturing of three-dimensional functional nanoarchitectures with applications in light manipulation, thus promoting basic science and technology in the fields of plasmonics and advanced manufacturing. Guided manipulation of light through periodic patterns of three-dimensional plasmonic nanoarchitectures provides remarkable opportunities to harness light in a way that cannot be obtained with conventional optics. However, its practical implementation remains challenged by the low-yield, time-consuming, and limited scalability of conventional fabrication processes that largely rely on the use of nanolithography. This research studies a new nanomanufacturing process based on three-dimensional nanoassembly to fabricate the plasmonic nanoarchitectures. The integration of three-dimensional nanoarchitectures with diverse substrates is increasingly preferred for broad applications in imagers, sensors and lasers, which greatly benefits the U.S. economy and society. The project is multidisciplinary and involves mechanics, optics and advanced nanomanufacturing. It provides excellent educational opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students and fosters interest in science and engineering in women and under-represented minority groups.
The fabrication of three-dimensional (3D) plasmonic nanoarchitectures largely relies upon the utilization of conventional nanolithography techniques that involve the use of either electron-beam, focused ion-beam, or beam interference. However, significant challenges exist in adopting these conventional techniques for diverse substrates including flexible or curved surfaces, especially, since they are principally designed to form nanopatterns on the flat surface of radiation-sensitive materials with the assistance of thermal or chemical post-treatments. This research is to develop a new nanomanufacturing technique that achieves deterministic assembly of 3D plasmonic nanoarchitectures on suitable receiver substrates in a way that allows the donor wafer to be reused for cost-savings. The process involves the use of water under ambient conditions without additional need of chemical, thermal or mechanical treatments, thereby substantially extending the type of receiver substrate to arbitrary materials. The collaborative research involves experiments to elucidate critical controlling parameters and underpinning solid-liquid interactions supported by multiscale/multiphysics computation modelling to predict manufacturing process parameters and their control with integration of atomistic simulation. The 3D plasmonic nanoarchitectures are integrated with hybrid pixel imagers to demonstrate the enhancement of their detection functionalities.
This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.