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12 November 2005 Nanostructure integration: Is nature's way the best way?
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It is always inspiring to observe how nature effortlessly integrates a myriad of nanoparticles into very complex living and non-living structures. As we increase our engineering skills from making nanoparticles to integrating them into complex but more useful structures, we are tempted to mimic the approaches used in the nature. At first glance, the "natural way" appears to be particularly suited to handling of a very large number of nanoparticles whose local interaction with each other is dominated by their surface properties. Properly functionalized nanoparticles can therefore be expected to self-assemble into predetermined structures simply by providing the right environment. This approach has indeed been successfully employed to construct many interesting structures ranging from photonic bandgap crystals to solar cells. Can we continue to refine these approaches to make more complex structures? Or, is there an ultimate limitation? In a diverse field such as nanotechnology with much upside potential, it is difficult to predict limitations. Yet, not all technological approaches are equal in terms of achieving sustainable integration techniques for higher value products. We attempt to compare various integration approaches currently used as to their viability for continued progress. Since many self-assembly techniques have counterparts in natural processes, we examine the limitations and the prospects of nanoassembly processes by attempting to learn from the nature. More specifically, the "top-down" and "bottom-up" assembly approaches are examined for their applicability for nanostructure fabrication.
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Burhan Bayraktaroglu "Nanostructure integration: Is nature's way the best way?", Proc. SPIE 6003, Nanostructure Integration Techniques for Manufacturable Devices, Circuits, and Systems: Interfaces, Interconnects, and Nanosystems, 600309 (12 November 2005);

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