A team of scientists in California have announced the creation of a 'NanoPen' that can simplify the method of laying down patterns of nanoparticles-from wires to circuits-for making futuristic electronic devices, medical diagnostic tests, and other much-anticipated nanotech applications.
Writing about their work in ACS' Nano Letters, Ming Wu and colleagues point out that researchers have already developed several different techniques for producing patterns of nanoparticles, which are barely 1/50,000th the width of a human hair.
However, the researchers add, current techniques tend to be too complex and slow because they require bulky instrumentation and take minutes or even hours to complete.
According to them, such limitations prevent widespread application of these techniques.
They claim that their NanoPen can solve all these problems.
The researchers have used the novel device in their lab to deposit various nanoparticles into specific patterns in the presence of relatively low light and temperature intensities.
They say that the process, which requires the use of special "photoconductive" surfaces, takes only seconds to complete with their NanoPen.
They further state that manufacturers can adjust the size and density of the patterns by adjusting the voltage, light intensity, and exposure time applied during the process.