Electric Pulses Used to Connect Nano-Objects
Beverley Inkson and her team at Sheffield University, U.K., have connected nanowires together with microscopic bits of melted tin, a process that could be used to repair electronics and build tiny sensors. “Scientists have developed many ways to make individual nano-objects,” said Inkson. “Most everyday joining techniques cannot be applied at the nanoscale, where nano-objects, a thousand times smaller than a human hair are easily destroyed by heat.”
By laying a nanowire across the objects that she wants to solder, and then passing just the right pulse of electricity through it, Inkson can join gold or alloy wires that are only 55 nm wide. She uses a tool called a nanomanipulator to pick the wires up, move them around, and electrify them. The procedure is explained in a December 2008 report to Nano Letters.
For more information: Dr. Beverley J. Inkson, Department of Engineering Materials, Sir Robert Hadfield Building, Mappin Street, Sheffield...