This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
methods. One is to start with a large-scale substance and remove sections to form the substance into what is desired. This method, often called the top-down approach, is how many of the micro and nano lithographic techniques work (i.e. E-beam and forms of UV lithography). However, it is easier to create more versatile and original materials when we employ the other type of fabrication, known as bottom-up. With the bottom up method, designs are created from scratch by assembling together different building blocks (think of building a house). Bottom up methods have enormous potential for nanoscience in general. By manipulating the molecules (which are the nano building blocks) scientists can cause them to form different desired structures. Self-assembly “Glue” The concept of self-assembly is based on the interactions that occur between molecules. These interactions are the “glue” that holds the self-assembled substance together. Some of the different interactions include: • Electrostatic Forces: The columbic interactions between positive and negative charged particles. • Hydrogen bonds: Bonding that involves a hydrogen proton donor • Dispersion forces (London forces): Weak dipole-dipole forces that are present in and between all molecules. • Hydrophobic effects: Non polar bonding in an aqueous solution. Self Assembled Monolayers Self assembled monolayers (SAM) are a very important aspect of self-assembly. By definition, SAMs are layers of a substance that is around one molecule thick. The crux behind SAMs is the group of surface-active molecules that attaches to a substrate by a chemical adsorption process. This adsorption process can be as simple as dipping the surface into a solution and leaving there for a certain amount of time. The result of this adsorption is an ultra thin (as in a single molecule) layer of molecules. One of the most common surfaces used to create SAM is on gold. SAMs on gold are one of the main avenues being pursued to produce well-defined micro and nano electronics. Electrostatic Self-Assembly Electrostatic self-assembly is another commonly used self-assembly technique used today. The process employs the use of the electrostatic interactions between molecules. The properties of these interactions are harnessed to create useful threedimensional layers • Layer by Layer (LBL): A commonly used electrostatic self-assembly method is the layer by layer (LBL) approach. A surface is first modified so it can bear different charged groups of particles. This is usually induced by some type of chemical reaction. The surface is then dipped into a solution of an oppositely charged solution. Because of electrostatic properties, the solution bonds uniformly onto the entire surface. Multiple layers can be added to the surface by alternating the charges on each
Block copolymers consist of two or more distinct polymer chains connected by a covalent bond. but the polymers will use any means necessary to get as far away from each other as possible. Some inherent disadvantages do lie at the heart of the LBL approach. Basically. By manipulating polymers at the molecular level. and penetrate into Block Copolymer Self-Assembly Polymers play an important role in the many different types of nanofabrication. when one copolymer is formed. these successive layers do not always line up according to plan. allowing another copolymer to attach. By harnessing microphase separation. As the surface is subsequently coated by the desired materials multiple times. scientists can create block copolymer structures in different desired surface shapes. they will inherently try to separate from eachother. or stack in deliberate patterns. When two polymers are forced combine to form a copolymer. and therefore it is relatively easy to tailor their properties and attributes exclusively for a particular role. the multiple layers can undesirably mix at their contact points. From a self-assembly standpoint.subsequent layer. • Microphase separation: The driving force behind block copolymer selfassembly is phenomenon known as microphase separation. and different complex shapes. the LBL approach is beneficial in coating devices that have or are subjected to unique electrical and/or mechanical properties. Note the uniqueness of the LBL approach in that entire macro-surfaces are able to obtain a nanoscale surface covering of a desired substance. Much is known about polymers. The covalent bond holding them together will prevent this separation. break. As a result. one of its polymer chains is still active. . scientists can modify their behavior to bond. This intrinsic property gives rise to the block copolymers forming symmetric surfaces such as cylinders. This attachment process goes in succession to form block copolymers. Sometimes. spheres. this advantage is invaluable.