3D-printing processes are engineered to use material more efficiently, give designs more flexibility and produce objects more precisely. These 3D printing techniques are reaching a stage where desired products and structures can be made independent of the complexity of their shapes. Applying 3D printing concepts to nanotechnology could bring similar advantages to nanofabrication - speed, less waste, economic viability - than it is expected to bring to manufacturing technologies. here we show examples of current research into 3D printing in nanotechnology.
As we are moving into an era of flexible and wearable electronic devices, one challenge that arises is an increased vulnerability to mechanical failure. Relatively small damages such as tiny cracks along the electrical conductive pathway caused by the bending, twisting and folding of such devices could easily cause the entire gadget to fail. Researchers have now demonstrated light-powered healing of an electrical conductor. They show that green light even with low intensity has potential to provide fast and repetitive recovery of a damaged electrical conductor without any direct invasion.
Researchers have explored the use of curcumin nanoparticles for the treatment of infected burn wounds, an application that resulted in reduced bacterial load and enhancing wound healing. Adding to the excitement regarding curcumin in multiple fields of medicine, most prominently in oncology, these new findings demonstrat that curcumin nanoparticles were more effective at both accelerating thermal burn wound closure and clearing infection with Methicillin Resistant S. aureus (MRSA) as compared to curcumin in its bulk size.
Ferroelectric liquid crystal (FLC) display technology holds the promise of fast switching times, a large viewing angle, and high resolution. FLCs have a spontaneous polarization whose direction is perpendicular to the layer. This spontaneous polarization plays an imperative role in the electro-optic switching of FLCs. Researchers have now developed a technique to amplify the spontaneous polarization by doping graphene into FLCs.
Electrochromic devices are some of the most attractive candidates for paper-like displays, so called electronic paper, which will be the next generation display. Researchers have now demonstrated solid state flexible polymer based electrochromic devices are fabricated continuously by stacking layers in one direction. This novel bottom-up approach with no need for a lamination step enables fully printed and 2D patterned organic electrochromics.
The adoption of a newly developed, facile synthesis method in catalyst designs may permit the rapid screening of nanoalloys for water contaminants. Given the compositional dynamics of this technique, a series of nanoalloys with different surface compositions can be quickly synthesized using a single starting solution and the optimal metal ratio experimentally determined to find the best catalytic reactivity for degrading the pollutant.
Researchers consider the rational combination of carbon nanotubes (CNTs) and graphene into three-dimensional hybrids an effective route to amplify the inherent physical properties at the macroscale. By in situ nitrogen doping and structural hybridization of carbon nanotubes and graphene, researchers have now successfully fabricated nitrogen-doped aligned carbon nanotube/graphene sandwiches. In this work, aligned CNTs and graphene layers were anchored to each other, constructing a sandwich-like hierarchical architecture with efficient 3D electron transfer pathways and ion diffusion channels.
The flexibility required when fabricating flexible electronic components has led to the use of plastic substrates and different transfer techniques to fabricate flexible devices. However, one of the biggest obstacles to mass adoption of flexible electronics has been the incompatibility with industry's state-of-the-art silicon-based CMOS processes. Researchers have now developed a new process that can be used to reduce the thickness of the silicon substrate until the required flexibility is obtained. In new work, they demonstrate a flexible (0.5 mm bending radius) nanoscale FinFET on silicon-on-insulator using a back-etch based substrate thinning process.