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‘Nano Machine Shop’ Made that Can Shape Nanowires and Ultrathin Films

Researchers have created a “nano machine shop” that is able to shape nanowires and ultrathin films into exact forms. This new method could represent a revolutionary future manufacturing method for tiny structures.


The manipulated structures could be fine-tuned for diverse applications such as high-speed electronics and solar cells. Their real potential, though, lies in their greater strength compared to conventionally formed structures, and their unusual traits, such as ultrahigh magnetism and “plasmonic resonance.” These traits could lead to great improvements in optics, computers, and electronics.

“The researchers used their technique to stamp nano- and microgears; form tiny circular shapes out of a material called graphene, an ultrathin sheet of carbon that holds promise for advanced technologies; and change the shape of silver nanowires, said Gary Cheng, an associate professor of industrial engineering at Purdue University.”

“We do this shaping at room temperature and atmospheric pressure, like a nano-machine shop,” said Cheng, who is working with doctoral students Ji Li, Yiliang Liao, Ting-Fung Chung and Sergey Suslov and physics professor Yong P. Chen.

Materials such as graphene and nanowire (filaments 1,000 times thinner than a human hair) have numerous potential applications, but they are difficult to work with because of their small size. This new method, named “laser shock-induced shaping,” solves that by making it possible to tune nanowires by “altering electrical and optoelectrical properties that are critical for electronic components.” Or, by using laser shock-induced shaping to change the properties of graphene. That brings graphene even closer to its potentially revolutionary role in electronics.

Source: Purdue University
Image Credits: Purdue University / Gary Cheng

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Written By

James Ayre's background is predominantly in geopolitics and history, but he has an obsessive interest in pretty much everything. After an early life spent in the Imperial Free City of Dortmund, James followed the river Ruhr to Cofbuokheim, where he attended the University of Astnide. And where he also briefly considered entering the coal mining business. He currently writes for a living, on a broad variety of subjects, ranging from science, to politics, to military history, to renewable energy.


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