Using paper as a substrate for electronics offers several advantages over traditional substrates like silicon. Paper is ubiquitous in everyday life; it is one of the largest surfaces ever produced by mankind and has become one of our most common materials since its invention over 2000 years ago. It is also inexpensive, lightweight, mechanically flexible and easily recyclable. Paper is not a competitor substrate to silicon for high performance electronics as it cannot rival the extremely low surface roughness or easily sustain nanometer-scale features. However, it can be considered alongside silicon and other substrates for applications where cost and ease of fabrication are more important than performance.
The research explores the design, modelling, fabrication and testing of a thermoelectrically actuated microgripper for the manipulation of single cells and other biological particles. A suitable combination of conductive and polymeric materials together with the design of a highly efficient electro-thermal actuator has produced a microgripper that can be operated in air in in liquid environments without inducing electrolysis.It produces large deflections at low voltage and power. Micromanipulation experiments have succesfully demonstrated the gripping, holding and positioning of a micro sized object.
Current research is based on the design, research and development
of devices required to successfully recover waste heat and convert it into
electrical power through the use of Microsystems Technology. This takes place
using optical nano-antennas, in the same way a standard radio antenna picks up a
radio station. These 'nantenna' arrays scale in size with the wavelength of the radiation.
In the temperature range 250-300°C, radiation in the region of 60 THz is emitted,
which has an associated wavelength of 5 μm.
The THz band sits at the interface between electronics and photonics. THz imaging and spectroscopy have immense potential in medical imaging, security and biotechnology. In recent years considerable advances have been made in the development of efficient emitters and receivers for THz. Artificial materials can produce THz lenses and filter elements.
This project addresses the possibility of creating a new advanced materials/device characterisation platform based on a non-destructive, carbon nanotube probe capable of recording simultaneously electrical, thermal and other transport properties and spectroscopic information at 2-20 nm.
A problem throughout many micro and nano applications is finding a consistent and reliable tool to interact, manipulate and measure samples directly. To solve this, a method is being developed to electrochemically etch probes down to, and beneath 20 nm sharpness over a wide range of lengths from 0.5 - 4.5 mm. The process is being automated to allow consistent control over the probes produced such that it can be adapted for a wider range of applications such as scanning probe microscopy, dielectrophoretic manipulation and cellular studies.