The Nanomanufacturing Summit 2009 was held in Boston, MA from May 27 - 29, 2009. The first day of the event featured a plenary session and two parallel sessions which covered everything from Advanced Processes and Tools for Nanoscale Control to Green Manufacturing, ES&H, and Risk Assessment. Briefs from the sessions follow.
A Plenary Session covered perspectives in nanomanufacturing from representatives from government, academia and industry. Mike Roco of the NSF discussed the importance of establishing a long-term strategic view and an ecology of innovation to reap the benefits nanomanufacturing in the U.S. He outlined 12 opportunities in nanomanufacturing, including items such as development of guided self-assembly, predictive simulation of nanomanufacturing processes and EHS factors, tool development and nanoinformatics. John Rogers of the University of Illinois described soft- and fluidic-based methods of nanomanufacturing. This research included the use of stamps and molds to create 2D and 3D structures utilizing unique optical alignment methods and also electrostatic nanoscale ink-jet techniques that produce structures smaller than the 200 nm diameter dispensing nozzle used. Om Nalamasu described Applied Materials strategy for nanomanufacturing tool development and deployment in the semiconductor, solar cell, display, solid-state lighting and window markets. He described the company’s efforts to meet the world demand for energy conservation, conversion and storage through the development of equipment capable of high-throughput, large-area nanomanufacturing.
In a session on Advanced Processes and Tools for Nanoscale Control, speakers presented perspectives on enabling methods for nanomanufacturing and metrology for requisite characterization of nanoscale materials and devices. Alain Diebold of the University of Albany describe a wide range of characterization techniques used to understand the properties and physics of graphene. John Zhang of the University of Texas Austin discussed a stamping method to create nanoscale LEDs that can be used as a proximal light source for a new type of scanning-probe optical microscopy. Kan Du of the University of Massachusetts Amherst described research in which nanoparticles self-assemble at the interface of gallium and water to produce devices showing single-electron charging effects. Michael Postek of NIST described the importance and economic value of precision measurement and standards development in the nanomanufacturing value chain.
In a session on Fluidic and Field Assisted Assembly, speakers presented emerging approaches and enabling capabilities for directed assembly of nanostructures expoiting electric fields and fluidic based systems. Placid Ferreira from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champagne provided an overview on the NSF Center for Nanoscale Chemical-Electrical-Mechanical Manufacturing Systems (Nano-CEMMS), including focused discussion on advances in field controlled patterning and imprinting techniques. Erik Freer from Nanosys, Inc. described a technique for the directed assembly of nanowires using dielectrophoresis, with the ability to pattern large areas. Cihan Yilmaz from Northeastern University presented a talk describing the use of electrophoresic directed assembly of nanoparticles with precision large scale control.
In a session on Directed Self Assembly, speakers presented tremendous strides made towards using self-assembly as a platform technology in nanomanufacturing. Caroline Ross from MIT described the use of lithographically patterned structures to direct the assembly of diblock copolymer domains into well-ordered structures. By using a combination of lithographic posts and ellipses, target geometries, such as bends, meanders and junctions, can be “programmed” into the diblock copolymer self-assembly. Joey Mead from University of Massachusetts Lowell discussed research in which lithographically patterned trenches are used to separate polymer blends into distinct regions by surface interactions. She also describe a fast process based on thermoforming for the transfer of patterned carbon nanotubes from a template master to a PANi polymer. Neal Robertson of Hitachi Global Storage Technologies described the goal of making bit patterned media (BPM) for hard disk data storage applications. He described a strategy for high volume manufacturing of disks which first creates a master by electron-beam lithography followed by diblock copolymer self assembly for density multiplication. These masters are used to create daughter replicas by nanoimprint lithography each of which are used to create hard disk substrates for patterned magnetic media. Thomas Russell of the University of Massachusetts Amherst describe a new technique for producing highly ordered arrays of diblock copolymer films having domain densities as large as 10 trillion per square inch. This method uses a sawtooth substrate, derived from a miscut sapphire substrate, to guide the assembly of the diblock copolymer domains, producing arrays with excellent long-range orientational order.
In a session on Nanomanufacturing Applications and Advanced Materials, presenters discussed challenges and progress in the deployment of nanotechnology ideas in areas including materials, electronics, forest products and optics. David Lashmore of Nanocomp Technologies described his company’s progress in producing carbon nanotube materials in the form of yarns, sheets and other geometric formats. These electrically conducting, high strength, low weight materials have application in electromagnetic shielding, armor, data cabling, heaters and other important areas. Daniel Herr of the Semiconductor Research Corporation described the strategic importance of new nanomanufacturing methods and new materials to the ITRS microelectronics roadmap. He describe list of high-potential emerging materials and how new nanomanufacturing technologies may alter the growing cost curve of semiconductor fabrication equipment. Ted Wegner of the U.S. Forest Service described efforts underway following the forest industries Agenda 2020 strategy to add new value to forest products through nanotechnology R&D. This includes, for example, research activities on manipulating cellulose nanocrystals and nanofibrillar cellulose as a high-strength, low-weight nanomaterial from a renewable natural resource. Stefano Cabrini of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory described research capabilities of the Molecular Foundry and its operation as a national user facility. He also highlighted a recent project which produced a zero-average refractive index metamaterial through a photonic crystal design.
In a session on Environmental Health and Safety and Risk Assessment, presenters discussed the challenges of responsible nanotechnology and looked at nanoparticle toxicity from two divergent perspectives. Jackie Isaacs summarized the work of the Center for High-rate Nanomanufacturing’s Research Thrust Area on Responsible Nanotechnology which incorporates issues ranging from intellectual property and regulation, to workplace safety, environmental impact, and exposure assessment and control. Of particular interest is their work in defining low-, medium-, and highly controlled workplace practices for minimizing exposure to engineered nanomaterials. Candace Tsai, also of the Center for High-rate Nanomanufacturing, presented her findings from a study evaluating the magnitude of nanoparticle emissions during carbon nanotube production and practices that would minimize those emissions. Anil K. Patri of the Nanotechnology Characterization Laboratory (NCL) discussed the role of nanotechnology in cancer therapeutics and presented the work of the NCL in characterizing nanoparticles for biological applications.
In a session on Green Manufacturing, Environmental Health and Safety, and Risk, presenters moved from the greening of nanomanufacturing to screening for nanoparticle toxicity. James Hutchinson discussed efforts at the University of Oregon to design greener nanoparticles. For example, a scalable synthesis and purification process for the preparation of gold nanoparticles used at the University of Oregon increases optimization of the particles while reducing waste. Candace Tsai of the Center for High-rate Nanomanufaturing detailed a study of fumehood performance for the emission of nanoparticles. Zeynep Ok described several mathematical modeling approaches for risk assessment that could be used, for example, to help decision makers choose a particular tool. Finally, Dhimiter Bello provided a quick overview of his efforts at determining the toxicity of nanoparticles by studying oxidative stress.