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Large-Scale Controlled Placement of Nanoparticles and Nanostructure


Laboratory: Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

Technology: A technique for large-scale placement of highly aligned nanotubes, nanowires, and other nanoparticles and nanostructures on precisely defined areas of a substrate. This low-temperature process for creating nanoarrays and other ordered configurations has been demonstrated on silicon-oxide surfaces, and promises to enable the incorporation of high-quality nanoparticles into standard semiconductor processing.

Overview: Unlike other methods for creating nanoarrays, this Berkeley Lab invention can incorporate unfunctionalized or pre-functionalized nanoparticles without

altering their chemistries. Furthermore, the substrates do not have to withstand high temperatures or have altered topography, and the adhesion chemistry is simple and scalable.

In the Berkeley Lab process, portions of a thin layer of polymer on a substrate are exposed to precisely delivered electron beam radiation. A suspension of nanoparticles is then spin-coated onto the substrate. The nanoparticles selectively adhere to the exposed portions of the polymer layer and are aligned in the direction of the flow. The thin layer of polymer may consist of a resist composition that is already present in standard lithographic work and permits patterning, in this case using a scanning electron microscope (SEM).

Nanotubes placed using this technique remain in position after further processing, including etching, metal deposition, and the addition of barrier or doping layers.


  • Allows precision placement of high-quality, preprocessed, or functionalized nanoparticles or nanostructures
  • Simple chemistry integrates into standard silicon and large-scale multilayer processes
  • Can be used with a variety of conventional substrates
  • Does not require complex chemically or geometrically modified substrates

Potential Applications: Manufacturing MEMS and NEMS devices, e.g., arrays, solar collectors, nanoscale memory and optical switching devices, field emitters, chemical or mass sensors, LEDs, flexible interconnects, mechanical filters, microfluidic pumps and gates

Opportunity: Available for licensing or collaborative research

Contact: Fill out a licensing interest form or contact LBNL Technology Transfer.

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