With an extensive background in the development of different routes for template
assisted assembly of metal nanoparticles on solid supports, the Institute of
Inorganic Chemistry (IAC) at the RWTH University of Aachen has recently taken
delivery of NanoInk's
flagship Dip Pen Nanolithography® (DPN®) research platform, the DPN
5000. This will be used to fabricate conducting nanostructures independently
of any structure- guiding templates, and for this purpose it is much more flexible
than any other lithography techniques, such as e-beam or EUV lithography.
Senior Scientist, Dr Michael Noyong of RWTH Aachen using the new NanoInk DPN 5000 system
As part of the Institute of Inorganic Chemistry, the group of Professor Ulrich
Simon, chair of Inorganic Chemistry and Electrochemistry, focuses on the synthesis,
characterization and assembly of metal and semiconductor nanoparticles, nanostructures
and biomolecular materials. Assembly at the nanometer scale on isolating and
semiconducting surfaces will be facilitated by DPN. Research will investigate
the interplay of microstructure and their electrical properties. In turn, this
will complement the existing in-situ measuring system.
The main applications will include the oriented deposition of gold nanoparticles;
the writing of conducting metal structures of arbitrary shape; and the nanostructuring
of metal oxides. Eventually, applications could include taking the microelectronic
chip down to the nano scale, i.e. producing the smallest available transistor.
There is also interest to study the electronic properties of biofunctionalized
Commenting on the use of the system, senior scientist, Dr Michael Noyong said
he was impressed with the combination of the large field of view for video imaging
coupled to high resolution AFM imaging and the simple, direct writing capability
on various surfaces in air atmosphere with the different target molecules.
In 2007, Professor Simon was a Visiting Professor at the International Institute
of Nanotechnology, Northwestern University, Evanston, USA, where DPN was first
practically applied by the team of Professor Chad Mirkin. Excited now by having
first-hand access to DPN in Aachen, he says: “Thanks to the generous financial
support by the German research foundation as well as by RWTH Aachen University,
we are now able to develop a new molecularly based approach to fabricate electrically
functional nanostructures. This will have a huge impact on our efforts to apply
such nanostructures in a technical or biological environment.”
The DPN 5000 is the latest member of the NSCRIPTOR® family of instrumentation.
It combines versatile nanopatterning capabilities with high-performance AFM
(atomic force microscopy) imaging. Together with a complete suite of micro-electro-mechanical
systems (MEMs) based ink delivery devices, users are able to commence creating
their own nanostructures hours after installation.
It features a new, ultra-low noise scanner with closed loop flexure technology
allowing for accurate and repeatable nanoscale patterning in x, y and z. The
low coherence laser with small spot size ensures high quality lateral force
(LFM) imaging for the improved detection of chemically patterned substrates.
Operating on an industry standard Linux® controller and with input from
over one hundred users worldwide, NanoInk has developed new InkCAD™ 4.0
software for improved control of tip-based patterning.
To learn more about DPN, its application and instrumentation platforms, please