Health and Medical News and Resources

General interest items edited by Janice Flahiff

New Tech for Complex Micro Structures for Use in Sensors and Other Apps


John Fourkas, University of Maryland. (Credit: Image courtesy of University of Maryland)

From the 13 July 2012 article at Science News Daily

University of Maryland Chemistry Professor John Fourkas and his research group have developed new materials and nanofabrication techniques for building miniaturized versions of components needed for medical diagnostics, sensors and other applications. These miniaturized components — many impossible to make with conventional techniques — would allow for rapid analysis at lower cost and with small sample volumes.

Fourkas and his team have created materials that allow the simultaneous 3D manipulation of microscopic objects using optical tweezers and a unique point-by-point method for lithography (the process of using light in etching silicon or other substrates to create chips and other electronic components). As they report in a research article published in the August issue of Chemical Science , the combination of these techniques allows them to assemble complex 3D structures from multiple microscopic components.

This work builds on earlier breakthroughs by Fourkas and his team in the use of visible light for making tiny structures for applications such as optical communications, controlling cell behavior and manufacturing integrated circuits.

“These materials have opened the door to a suite of new techniques for micro and nanofabrication,” says Fourkas. “For instance, we have been able to perform braiding and weaving with threads that have a diameter that is more than 100 times smaller than that of a human hair.” In the paper, Fourkas and his group also showcase 3D structures composed of glass microspheres, a microscopic tetherball pole, and a microscopic needle eye that has been threaded….

July 14, 2012 - Posted by | Medical and Health Research News | , , , ,

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