Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation

Durable Substrate for the Mass Production of Nanowires
WiSys: T07017US

Inventors: Mike Zach

WiSys is seeking a commercial partner interest in further development of its durable substrate technology, ultimately providing a route to market for its widespread use.
Nanowires have many potential applications including use in microprocessors to greatly increase computing speed, in the creation of devices like nanorobots that could one day be used to treat cancer, in solar cells to increase energy efficiency or even in titanium implants to reduce the risk of implant failure. Although the potential applications of nanowires are great, the fabrication process is expensive and inexact. One method, known as electrochemical step edged decoration (ESED), uses highly oriented pyrolytic graphite (HOPG) as a substrate for manufacturing the nanowires. However, this material is fragile and expensive, and it contains defects that can transfer to the nanowires. An alternative fabrication technique is usable one time only. New methods and substrates are needed to make the mass production of nanowires feasible.
The Invention
Researchers at the University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point have developed a method for creating nanowires, including metallic, heterogeneous and nanowire assemblies, that is suitable for mass production. This method uses a durable diamond substrate, rather than the fragile HOPG substrate. A layer of conductive ultrananocrystalline diamond is formed on the surfaces of a planar silicon substrate. Integrated circuit techniques pattern the diamond to produce a well-defined edge upon which to grow the nanowire. An insulating layer of non-conductive ultrananocrystalline diamond may be placed on top of the patterned layer. Electromechanical deposition is used to grow the nanowire, which can then be easily removed and transferred to a secondary application substrate. The template is then reusable and nanowires have been created from a wide variety of metals.
  • Method for patterned and reusable template to easily create nanowires on a bench top or for mass production
Key Benefits
  • Allows nanowires from multiple templates to be combined for complex interconnections that could not be created directly using the ESED technique
  • Enables the formation of nanowires with varied material along their lengths
  • May incorporate a cyclic stamping process that allows mass production of patterned nanowire circuits or devices
  • Potential for mass production of nanowires to then be used in sensors, thermoelectric devices or circuit components
  • Provides a robust, patterned and reusable template
  • Allows precise dimensions and orientation of nanowires to be maintained
  • Provides a robust substrate with low cohesion, allowing the nanowires to be easily removed and transferred to another substrate
Stage of Development
Method Developed
For current licensing status, please contact Jennifer Souter at [javascript protected email address] or (608) 316-4131