Researchers from Rutgers University and the University of Cambridge are exploring new nanomaterials that will more readily self-assemble into thin-films which could lead to new methods of fabricating electronic devices at even smaller scales.The materials under study are ring-like molecules which have five-fold, pentagonal symmetry, which prevents them from latching onto any one location on a coper substrate, which has three-fold symmetry. The characteristics of these molecules "is ideal for the spontaneous creation of high-density stable thin films."
Rather than stripping away materials, as is done in current etching processes used for creating computer chips, the nanomaterials could be used to self-assemble even finer circuits than can be made with current techniques.
The potential applications for this new approach include thin-film solar panels, which could see improvements in power density while continuing to require very little material for their fabrication. In addition to solar power applications, the results of this technology could also be used for ever smaller computer chips and for new video display technologies.
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