Joint Colloquium Distinguished Lecture Series

Directed Assembly: Integration of Functional Materials and Devices Across Length Scales and Material Boundaries

blank image Wednesday, October 19th
HP Auditorium, Soda Hall

Heiko Jacobs
University of Minnesota


The construction of man-made artifacts (micro and nanosystems, lab-on-a-chip, cell phones, or computers) relies on our ability to integrate materials and devices across length scales and materials boundaries. The majorities of these systems are heterogeneous in nature and contain at least two separate parts that prohibit monolithic integration. Fabrication today is dominated by robotic assembly lines that place, package, and interconnect a variety of devices that have macroscopic (> 1 mm) dimensions. At another extreme, nature forms materials, structures, and living systems by self-assembly on a molecular length scale, and self-assembly tools are widely recognized in nanotechnology that deals with sub 100 nm sized components. The challenge today lies in the heterogeneous assembly and formation of interconnects to artificial components with intermediate (10 nm -100 mm) dimensions. I will report on recent advancements in self-assembly based manufacturing and own achievements in the area of directed self-assembly. In directed self-assembly the components and interactions are tailored by humans to form a desired structure.


The first part of the talk will report on new patterning techniques to fabricate high resolution patterns to direct the self-assembly process. I will provide a review on the state of the art of Scanning Probe Lithography to expose and modify a surface at high resolution and present a new parallel approach that we call Electric Nanocontact Lithography to pattern selected surface areas in a single step.


The second part of the talk present a new class of Self-Assembly that is best referred to as Directed-Assembly, Self-Assembly-by-Design, or Programmable Assembly. Directed Self-Assembly Based Manufacturing makes use of similar principles that are found in nature and chemical biology. The difference is that our "molecules" are man-made nano and micrometer sized artifacts that self-assemble into functional devices and ultimately systems for information processing. The components and interactions are tailored by humans to form a desired structure. The aim is to provide parallel tools to assemble micrometer and nanometer sized components in two and three dimensions to form devices and systems across length scales and material boundaries. The assembly of individual devices into integrated systems is a key process in micro and nanotechnology. Self-assembly Tools will be discussed that can handle extremely small objects in a massively parallel manner. Planned subtopics include:


Professor Jacobs received his M.Sc. in Electrical Engineering from the University of Wuppertal, Germany in 1995, and his doctoral degree ( in Engineering from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH), Switzerland in 1999. He joined the faculty at the University of Minnesota in 2001 as an assistant professor following a postdoctoral research position at Harvard University. During his academic career he carried out research at different departments - Chemistry (Harvard), Mechanical Engineering (ETH), Physics (ETH), and Electrical Engineering (ETH) - in interdisciplinary groups, all working in areas of Micro- and Nanotechnology.

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