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Fabrication of nanopipes using vertically aligned carbon nanofiber templates and their properties

A.V. Melechko, T. E. McKnight, M. A. Guillorn, B. Ilic, V. I. Merkulov, M. J. Doktycz, B. Warmac, D. McCorkle, D. H. Lowndes, and M. L. Simpson
University of Tennessee, Knoxville, US

Keywords: nanopores, nanopipes, carbon

Fluidic structures with submicron dimensions have potential applications for sorting DNA molecules , electroanalytical sensing, and detecting and characterizing single molecule events . The fabrication of devices that function on the nanometer scale requires new approaches when standard microfabrication techniques cannot be scaled down. One such approach, the use of the materials such as carbon nanotubes (CNT) and carbon nanofibers (CNF) that self-assemble into nanostructures, has been successfully applied in nanoelectronics. Vertically aligned carbon nanofibers (VACNFs) that can be synthesized highly deterministically have been integrated into a variety of devices such as VACNF-based electrochemical probes designed for intracellular characterization or gated cathode field emitters . Another nanofabrication approach that has been proposed for construction of nanofluidic devices is to use templates made of sacrificial materials defined by electron beam lithography . In the work reported here we combine these two approaches to demonstrate the use of carbon nanofibers as self-assembled sacrificial templates for the synthesis of nanopipes, which are extended hollow structures that can be as long as a few micrometers with internal diameters as small as 30 nm. In this work, vertically aligned carbon nanofibers have been synthesized on Si3N4 membranes. They have been used as templates for nanopipes made of SiO2 in subsequent microfabrication steps. We have explored the macromolecular transport and electrochemical properties of membranes with nanopipes.

NSTI Nanotech 2003 Conference Technical Program Abstract

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