ID: 2011-074 Three-dimensional microscale structures and methods
Principal Investigator: Rob Davis
It has been recognized that it would be advantageous to develop high aspect ratio, three-dimensional microscale structures from metals and metal alloys.
The invention provides a microscale device, including a patterned forest of vertically grown and aligned carbon nanotubes that can define a carbon nanotube forest with the nanotubes having a height defining a thickness of the forest, the patterned forest can define a patterned frame that defines one or more components of a microscale device. A conformal coating of substantially uniform thickness can at least partially coat the nanotubes, defining coated nanotubes and connecting adjacent nanotubes together, without substantially filling interstices between individual coated nanotubes. A metallic interstitial material infiltrates the carbon nanotube forest and at least partially fills interstices between individual coated nanotubes.
This technology also provides a method for forming a microscale device, including: applying a catalyst to a substrate to create a defined pattern on the substrate; initiating growth of a plurality of vertically grown and aligned carbon nanotubes from the catalyst applied in the pattern to form a patterned frame, the nanotubes having a height defining a thickness of the frame and a nanotube diameter, the patterned frame defining one or more components of a microscale device; at least partially coating the nanotubes with a conformal coating of substantially uniform thickness defining coated nanotubes with a coated nanotube diameter greater than the nanotube diameter and connecting adjacent nanotubes together, without substantially filling interstices between individual coated nanotubes, the forest of coated nanotubes defining a precursor; and infiltrating by electrodeposition the carbon nanotube forest with an interstitial material different from the conformal coating and at least partially filling interstices between individual coated nanotubes.
About the Market:
Precision manufacturing of three dimensional structures on the microscale is of great interest in a variety of sensing and related applications. At present, however, such endeavors have been limited to relatively low aspect ratio devices and to a narrow range of materials. Metals and metal alloys are commonly used in larger applications, but have faced significant barriers at the microscale level.
For more information, contact Spencer Rogers (801-422-3676)
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