RWTH University of Aachen Selects NanoInk's DPN 5000 for Nanotechnology Research

Published on October 27, 2009 at 7:56 AM

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 nanoparticles.

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 visit

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