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Nanofabrication advances touted at Lab Automation Conference

Nanofabrication could become relatively easy and cheap by using a 'bottom up' integrated assembly, Michael J. Heller said at the recent LabAutomoation 2007 conference.

Heller, co-founder of Nanogen and professor

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Nanofabrication could become relatively easy and cheap by using a 'bottom up' integrated assembly, Michael J. Heller said at the recent LabAutomoation 2007 conference.

Heller, co-founder of Nanogen and professor of bioengineering at the University of California, San Diego, presented results demonstrating nanofabrication applications of the company's NanoChip technology at the conference.

Heller's presentation described the use of Nanogen's proprietary electronic "pick and place" technology to direct the assembly of nanoparticles in a rapid and cost-effective manner. His research team has used Nanogen's NanoChips and NC400 instrument to build multi-layered structures of nanoparticles by electronically directing the components to targeted positions on a microarray template.

"Completed structures can later be 'popped off' the template by several simple procedures. It's a unique approach to the assembly of nanoparticles into more complex structures," said Heller. "Potential applications include the production of micro-scale biosensors that may ultimately be used in the body to monitor diseases.

"There are also many uses outside of biomedical and environmental monitoring such as the manufacture of photovoltaic devices, fuel cells and batteries," he added. "It is currently very expensive to produce these devices and materials because integration of many nano and microscale components has to be accomplished. Nanogen's technology, which allows for a 'bottom up' integrated assembly, has the potential to make nanomanufacture relatively easy and cheap."