Light-based ‘tractor beam’ assembles materials at the nanoscale

Nanowerk  November 4, 2019
A team of researchers in the US (University of Washington, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory) adapted optical tweezers which act as a light-based “tractor beam” that can assemble nanoscale semiconductor materials precisely into larger structures. They demonstrated the technique by assembling a heterostructure starting with shorter nanorods of crystalline germanium and capped each with a metallic bismuth nanocrystal.
As all the components are suspended in solution the size and shape of the nanostructure can be controlled as it is assembled. The process is repeated to assemble the structure to desired size. They believe that this nanosoldering approach could enable additive manufacturing of nanoscale structures with different sets of materials for other applications…read more. Open Access TECHNICAL ARTICLE

Focused laser light generates an optical “tractor beam,” which can manipulate and orient semiconductor nanorods (red) with metal tips (blue) in an organic solvent solution. Credit: Vincent Holmberg/Matthew Crane/Elena Pandres/Peter Pauzauskie

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