text-only page produced automatically by LIFT Text Transcoder Skip all navigation and go to page contentSkip top navigation and go to directorate navigationSkip top navigation and go to page navigation
National Science Foundation Home National Science Foundation - Computer & Information Science & Engineering (CISE)
Computer & Information Science & Engineering (CISE)
design element
CISE Home
About CISE
Funding Opportunities
Awards
News
Events
Discoveries
Publications
Advisory Committee
Career Opportunities
Advisory Committee for Cyberinfrastructure
See Additional CISE Resources
View CISE Staff
CISE Organizations
Advanced Cyberinfrastructure (ACI)
Computing and Communication Foundations (CCF)
Computer and Network Systems (CNS)
Information & Intelligent Systems (IIS)
Proposals and Awards
Proposal and Award Policies and Procedures Guide
  Introduction
Proposal Preparation and Submission
bullet Grant Proposal Guide
  bullet Grants.gov Application Guide
Award and Administration
bullet Award and Administration Guide
Award Conditions
Other Types of Proposals
Merit Review
NSF Outreach
Policy Office
Additional CISE Resources
Contact CISE OAD
Subscribe to receive special CISE announcements
Serving and Working at NSF
Assistant Director's Presentations and Congressional Testimony
CISE Dear Colleague Letters
CISE Distinguished Lecture Series
Webcasts/Webinars
Designing Disruptive Learning Technologies Webinars
WATCH Series
Workshops
CS Bits & Bytes
Big Data Research Initiative
US Ignite at NSF
CISE Strategic Plan for Broadening Participation
Science, Engineering and Education for Sustainability NSF-Wide Investment (SEES)
Other Site Features
Special Reports
Research Overviews
Multimedia Gallery
Classroom Resources
NSF-Wide Investments

Email this pagePrint this page


Press Release 07-119
Nanomaterials With a Bright Future

New, inexpensive fabrication technique can increase production

A new fabrication technique, known as soft interference lithography, or SIL, offers many significant

A cheaper, faster process way of making nanomaterials.
Credit and Larger Version

September 11, 2007

An innovative and inexpensive way of making nanomaterials on a large scale has resulted in novel forms of advanced materials that pave the way for exceptional and unexpected optical properties. The new fabrication technique, known as soft lithography, or SIL, offers many significant advantages over existing techniques, including the ability to scale-up the manufacturing process to produce devices in large quantities.

The research, funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and led by Teri Odom of Northwestern University, appears as the cover story in the September 2007 issue of Nature Nanotechnology.

The optical nanomaterials in this research are called 'plasmonic metamaterials' because their unique physical properties originate from shape and structure rather than material composition only. Two examples of metamaterials in the natural world are peacock feathers and butterfly wings. Their brightly colored patterns are due to structural variations at the hundreds of nanometers level, which cause them to absorb or reflect light.

Through the development of a new nanomanufacturing technique, Odom and her co-workers have succeeded in making gold films with virtually infinite arrays of perforations as small as 100 nanometers--500-1000 times smaller than a human hair. On a magnified scale, these perforated gold films look like Swiss cheese except the perforations are well-ordered and can spread over macroscale distances. The researchers' ability to make these optical metamaterials inexpensively and on large wafers or sheets is what sets this work apart from other techniques.

"One of the biggest problems with nanomaterials has always been their 'scalability,'" Odom said. "It's been very difficult or prohibitively expensive to pattern them over areas larger than about one square millimeter. This research is exciting not only because it demonstrates a new type of patterning technique that is cheap, but also one that can produce very high quality optical materials with interesting properties."

For example, if the perforations or holes are patterned into microscale "patches," they show dramatically different transmission behavior of light compared to an infinite array of holes. The patches appear to focus light while the infinite arrays do not.

Moreover, their optical transmission can be altered simply by changing the geometry of perforations rather than having to "cook" a new composition of materials. This feature makes them very attractive in terms of tuning their behavior to a given need with ease. These materials can also be superior as optical sensors, and they open the possibility of ultra-small sources of light. Furthermore, given their precise organization, they can serve as templates for making their own clones or for making other ordered structures at the nanoscale, such as arrays of nanoparticles.

"The work of Professor Odom is an outcome of a grant mechanism at NSF called Small Grants for Exploratory Research that is aimed at exploring high-risk, high-payoff ideas that are potentially transformative to the field said Harsh Deep Chopra, director of NSF's Metals Program in the Division of Materials Research. "The early results are encouraging and suggest the potential for a new generation of optical devices." This work is supported both the Metals Program and the Materials Research Science and Engineering Centers Program in the Division of Materials Research at NSF.

-NSF-

Media Contacts
Diane E. Banegas, NSF, (703) 292-8070, dbanegas@nsf.gov

The National Science Foundation (NSF) is an independent federal agency that supports fundamental research and education across all fields of science and engineering. In fiscal year (FY) 2014, its budget is $7.2 billion. NSF funds reach all 50 states through grants to nearly 2,000 colleges, universities and other institutions. Each year, NSF receives about 50,000 competitive requests for funding, and makes about 11,500 new funding awards. NSF also awards about $593 million in professional and service contracts yearly.

 Get News Updates by Email 

Useful NSF Web Sites:
NSF Home Page: http://www.nsf.gov
NSF News: http://www.nsf.gov/news/
For the News Media: http://www.nsf.gov/news/newsroom.jsp
Science and Engineering Statistics: http://www.nsf.gov/statistics/
Awards Searches: http://www.nsf.gov/awardsearch/

 

border=0/


Email this pagePrint this page
Back to Top of page