While 3-D patterning on the macroscale is a breeze, 3-D fabrication on the nanoscale is extremely limited, according to researchers at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. A self-assembly technique developed by the scientists has enabled the creation of nanoparticles with nanolithography-patterned 3-D surfaces using patterned tin and nickel panels that self-assemble into nanoboxes.
Self-assembly of the panels into the cube shape was incited through the application of gases intended to etch away the silicon. Heating the panels then caused the hinges to melt, consequently merging the grains together and prompting the panels to be pulled upward to form the 3-D box shape. This capability could contribute to the development of future electronic nanocircuits or have application in drug-delivery systems, according to the researchers.