Understanding and utilizing molecular constraints in nanoscale material designs

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Challenges regarding nanoscale material designs often arise from the collision of two sets of critical length-scales; namely, device dimensions approach the length scale of molecular-level processes. On one hand, these finite size constraints cannot be fully described with quantum or molecular theories; on the other hand, continuum theories characteristic of top-down design, breakdown. We are caught in the meso-scale, where characterizing the ensemble-average behavior of a nanoscopic system is both an experimental and theoretical challenge. The work presented here highlights scanning probe microscopy (SPM) techniques used to access the energetic signatures and characteristic length scales for molecular relaxation. The real-space information provides insight to the effect of nanoscopic constraints, both internal (chemical, structural) and external (dimensional, interfacial), on the resulting material properties. The technological challenge of utilizing constraints as design opportunities is illustrated with the development of nano-electromechanical systems (NEMS).

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Journal: TechConnect Briefs
Volume: 4, Technical Proceedings of the 2007 NSTI Nanotechnology Conference and Trade Show, Volume 4
Published: May 20, 2007
Pages: 69 - 72
Industry sector: Advanced Materials & Manufacturing
Topics: Materials Characterization & Imaging
ISBN: 1-4200-6376-6