Nanomaterials and nanotechnology offer unique opportunities for fabricating devices of novel architecture and enhanced performance and can overcome system integration issues challenging current nanomanufacturing methods that are suited to planar geometries and are confined to top-down architectures. The central motivation of this Scalable NanoManufacturing (SNM) project is to develop a new manufacturing paradigm that offers scalability and flexibility enabling nanoscale device fabrication and integration in truly three-dimensional architectures over large areas and with arbitrary densities. A robust, fully proven and scalable platform for building nanosystems of unprecedented sensitivity and functionality will be developed. The research will have an impact on education and the development of transformational and sustainable nanomanufacturing technology while broadening our understanding of the fundamental science. Applications include advanced optical materials, high sensitivity sensors and nanomaterials for tissue engineering. Therefore, the research will benefit the United States industry, economy and society. The project will provide new opportunities for graduate and undergraduate students and in particular underrepresented minorities to have research experiences and state-of-the-art training in nanoscience and engineering. Seminar courses on nanomanufacturing and materials processing will be developed and an on line course program in nanomanufacturing will be broadcast. A set of outreach activities aiming at local high school students and transfer students from community colleges will be implemented.
The core research strategy takes advantage of ultrafast laser beam processing for generating the scaffold multi-scale structures with sub-50 nm feature resolution. Two-photon polymerization will be used to fabricate structures of tunable properties that are sensitive to pressure, light, heat and electrical stimulation. This technique, together with ultrafast laser micro/nanomachining will be adapted to multiple beam configurations in order to increase the processing throughput. Once the template is constructed, the directed self-assembly of block copolymers will be used to produce three-dimensional materials with tailored functionality where pattern amplification will be used to push the length scale to the sub-10 nm regime. The directed self-assembly of block copolymers is a parallel process and, as such, particularly over the fundamental length scales of concern in these studies, is quite rapid. Direct laser writing will be used to create structures of the desired structural properties, including optical waveguides, fluidic channels and conductive circuitry. The following examples of functional structures will be demonstrated: i) highly sensitive three-dimensional multi-plexed sensor devices, ii) large area complex three-dimensional metamaterials and iii) nanostructured tissue scaffolds. The impact of materials and chemicals, consumption of energy and other resources during manufacturing, as well as product end-of-life and recycling will be evaluated in a sustainability analysis.