New York University (New York, NY) and Harvard University (Cambridge, MA) earned U.S. Patent 7,772,543 for a system and method for manipulating and processing nanowires in solution with arrays of holographic optical traps. By using holographic optical tweezer arrays it is possible to assemble nanowires into precisely organized two and three-dimensional structures.
According to inventors David G. Grier, Ritesh Agarwal, Guihua Yu, Charles M. Lieber, Kosta Ladavac and Yael Roichman, the system and method of the present invention is capable of creating hundreds of individually controlled optical traps with the ability to manipulate objects in three dimensions. Individual nanowires with cross-sections as small as 20 nm and lengths exceeding 20 microns are capable of being isolated, translated, rotated and deposited onto a substrate with holographic optical trap arrays under conditions where single traps have no discernible influence. Spatially localized photothermal and photochemical processes induced by the well-focused traps can also be used to melt localized domains on individual nanowires and to fuse nanowire junctions.
Semiconductor and metallic nanowires are one-dimensional structures with unique electrical and optical properties that are used as building blocks in nanoscale devices. Their low dimensionality means that they exhibit quantum confinement effects. For this and other reasons, such nanowires are therefore versatile building blocks for assembling functional electronic and photonic devices. Realizing their potential requires efficient methods for assembling them into complex and specifically organized architectures
The invention provides an improved system and method for manipulating semiconductor and metallic nanowires. It also provides an improved system and method for increasing the amount of force that can be exerted on semiconductor and metallic nanowires while minimizing radiative damage.