A group of scientists at the University of Maryland headed by Professor John Fourkas developed a novel method of assembling complicated polymeric and biomolecular structures made of microscopic components, including glass microspheres.
The technique is a combination of multiphoton absorption polymerisation (MAP) and optical tweezers, which allows for braiding and microweaving of the nanoscale components into complicated structures otherwise impossible to build until now. The researchers believe that the new manufacturing technique will allow for miniaturization of medical sensors and various diagnostic devices.
“These materials have opened the door to a suite of new techniques for micro and nanofabrication,” says Fourkas. “For instance, we have been able to perform braiding and weaving with threads that have a diameter that is more than 100 times smaller than that of a human hair.
One of the exciting aspects of this set of techniques is that it is compatible with a wide range of materials. For instance, we can weave together threads with completely different compositions to create functional microfabrics or build microscopic devices `brick by brick’ with building blocks that have different chemical or physical properties.”
Abstract in Chemical Science: Simultaneous microscale optical manipulation, fabrication and immobilisation in aqueous media…