Sample Projects

2011 Highlighted Projects

Nanoporous Diatom Shells on Silicon Chips

Scanning electron microscopy image of a Diatom shell mounted on a silicon micropore substrate.

Biomineralized Diatom shells exhibit impressive features, such as a hierarchical pore structure with the smallest pores having a diameter of 40 nm. This structure makes them extraordinarily mechanically stable, while allowing a short pore length. This makes them very attractive for nanoparticle filtration applications, the study of cell-cell-communication and ion channel sensors based on nanoscale bilayer lipid membranes.

1 µm Polystyrene particles do not migrate through the Diatom and are efficiently retained by the nanopore matrix.

The purpose of this project was to combine the advantages of the Diatom shells with silicon-based MEMS devices. At the ASU NanoFab facility, photolithography and deep reactive ion etching is used to create through-wafer vias in silicon to allow fluidic access to the thin nanomembranes.

Researched by:
M. Goryll, B. L Ramakrishna and
Sandwip K. Dey, ASU, SECEE and SEMTE


Plasma Lithography for Cell Networks Formation

Plasma lithography defined patterns for probing geometric control in cellular networks

Example: A versatile plasma lithography technique is developed to generate stable surface patterns for guiding cellular attachment.  This technique is applied to create cell networks including those that mimic natural tissues and has been used for studying several, distinct cell types.   In particular, we have applied this method to form diverse networks with different cell types for transformative investigations in collective cell migration, intercellular signaling, tissue formation, and the behavior and interactions of neurons arranged in a network.

Formation of single myotubes to study cell-cell interactions in myogenesis

Architecture dependence in artificial cell networks





Researched by:
M. Junkin and P. K. Wong.
“Probing Cell Migration in Confined Environments by Plasma Lithography”
Biomaterials, vol. 32, pp. 1848-1855, 2010


 3D flexible device fabrication project (NSF) and micro lunar seismometers project (NASA)

Fully stretchable and flexible temperature sensors

Fully stretchable and flexible temperature sensors

In this project we fabricated flexible and stretchable 3D micro devices using 1) surface micromachining of polymer with full flexibility, 2) thin film transferring technology with fully stretchability, 3) laser dynamic forming on 3D surface to deform or bond pre-fabricated thin film flexible micro devices on 3D micro surface structure.

Another objective was to develop high performance, light weight, low power consumption, robust seismometer for Lunar and Mar Exploration collaborating with seismologists and ASU and MET technology Inc. using molecular electronic transducers for seismology measurement.

The sensing elements for micro seismometer



Researched by: Hongyu Yu
Projects supported by the NSF and NASA





Additional NanoFab Projects

(left) Nano-antennae array fabricated using electron beam lithography and metal lift-off. The structure is intended for application in rapid DNA sequencing using fluorescence enhancement.

(right) Cross-section of a membrane containing 30 million nanopores each with a diameter of 40 nm for protein separation. The nanopore array is etched into a silicon-on-insulator substrate using a combination of electron beam  lithography and deep silicon etching.