Automated characterization and assembly of individual nanowires for device fabrication†
The automated sorting and positioning of nanowires and nanotubes is essential to enabling the scalable manufacturing of nanodevices for a variety of applications. However, two fundamental challenges still remain: (i) automated placement of individual nanostructures in precise locations, and (ii) the characterization and sorting of highly variable nanomaterials to construct well-controlled nanodevices. Here, we propose and demonstrate an integrated, electric-field based method for the simultaneous automated characterization, manipulation, and assembly of nanowires (ACMAN) with selectable electrical conductivities into nanodevices. We combine contactless and solution-based electro-orientation spectroscopy and electrophoresis-based motion-control, planning and manipulation strategies to simultaneously characterize and manipulate multiple individual nanowires. These nanowires can be selected according to their electrical characteristics and precisely positioned at different locations in a low-conductivity liquid to form functional nanodevices with desired electrical properties. We validate the ACMAN design by assembling field-effect transistors (FETs) with silicon nanowires of selected electrical conductivities. The design scheme provides a key enabling technology for the scalable, automated sorting and assembly of nanowires and nanotubes to build functional nanodevices.