Pattern Transfer Nanomanufacturing

March 10, 2019

Flexible nanoparticle film generation

University of South Carolina scientists have developed an innovative “misuse” of magnetic recording technology with intriguing possibilities. The technology is conventionally used for data storage; the new application fabricates sophisticated materials by modifying individual nanoparticles. Employing a technique called Pattern Transfer Nanomanufacturing, physicist Thomas Crawford and his team have transformed the “disk” from a disk drive into a reprogrammable template. They first suspend magnetic nanoparticles in a liquid known as a ferrofluid. Once they coat the disk with ferrofluid, they pull the nanoparticles to the surface using a magnetic field. When the nanoparticles have assembled into place, the team removes the fluid and finishes the disk surface with a liquid polymer. They then peel the cured solid polymer from the disk to yield a flexible and transparent film that contains the patterned nanoparticles.

Crawford expects these films will find application in optics, biotechnology, and novel material surfaces that can be programmed for a variety of uses. Examples include manipulable surface films that enable selective light transmission and conductivity, thereby enhancing solar control or communications networks.

Contact: University of South Carolina Department of Physics and Astronomy, Columbia, SC, USA.

For more information, see Transmaterial Next: A Catalog of Materials that Redefine Our Future

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