Rethinking Manufacturing; Large Scale Directed Assembly
  • FENS
  • Rethinking Manufacturing; Large Scale Directed Assembly

You are here

Rethinking Manufacturing; Large Scale Directed  Assembly of  Nanomaterials for Electronics, Energy and Biotechnology Applications

Ahmed Busnaina, W.L. Smith Professor and Director

The NSF Nanoscale Science and Engineering Center for High-rate Nanomanufacturing

Northeastern University, Boston, MA 02115

Email:, URL:

Present fabrication facilities that manufactures nanoscale devices such as consumer electronics costs $5-10 billion. This high cost of entry barrier completely shuts out small and medium sized businesses. Dramatically lowering such barriers would spur innovation and the creation of entirely new industries. A directed assembly based nanomanufacturing factory could be built for as low as $25-$50 million, a fraction of today’s cost, making nanotechnology accessible to millions of new innovators and entrepreneurs and unleash a wave of creativity in the same way as the advent of the PC did for computing.

The NSF Center for High-rate Nanomanufacturing (CHN) is developing tools and processes to conduct fast massive directed assembly of nanoscale elements by controlling the forces required to assemble, detach, and transfer nanoelements at high rates and over large areas. The center has developed templates with nanofeatures to direct the assembly of carbon nanotubes (CNTs) and nanoparticles (down to 10 nm) into nanoscale trenches in a short time (in seconds) and over a large area (measured in inches).  The center has demonstrated that nanotemplates can be used to assemble naoscale structures (polymers, CNTs and nanoparticles) and transfer them onto a second substrate.   Recently, a fast and highly scalable process for fabricating interconnects from CMOS and other types of interconnects has been developed using metallic nanoparticles.

The center has many applications where the technology has been demonstrated. For example, a room temeprture and pressure CNT interconnect was developed. A nonvolatile memory switches using CNTs or molecules assembled on a wafer level. A new biosensor chip (0.02 mm2) capable of detecting multiple biomarkers simultaneously and the bio sensor can be in vitro and in vivo with a detection limit that’s 200 times lower than current technology.  A new autonomous chemical sensor with a low detection limit that’s less than 1 mm3 has been developed. The center has developed the fundamental science and engineering platform necessary to manufacture a wide array of applications ranging from electronics, energy, and materials to biotechnology.


Ahmed A. Busnaina, Ph.D. is the William Lincoln Smith Chair Professor and Director of National Science Foundation’s Nanoscale Science and Engineering Center (NSEC) for High-rate Nanomanufacturing and the NSF Center for Nano and Microcontamination Control at Northeastern University, Boston, MA. He is internationally recognized for his work on nano and micro scale defects (particulate and chemical) mitigation and removal in semiconductor fabrication. He also involved in the fabrication of nanoscale wires, structures and interconnects. He specializes in directed assembly of nanoelements and in the fabrication of micro and nanoscale structures. Research support exceeded 47 million dollars. He served as a consultant on micro contamination and particle adhesion issues to the semiconductor industry. He authored more than 470 papers in jour­nals, proceedings and conferences. He is on the editorial advisory board of Semiconductor International, the Journal of Particulate Science and Technology. He is a fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, and the Adhesion Society, a Fulbright Senior Scholar and listed in Who's Who in the World, in America, in science and engineering. He was awarded the 2006 Nanotech Briefs National Nano50 Award, Innovator category, the 2006 Outstanding Faculty Research Award, Northeastern University 2006, the 2005 Aspiration Award, Northeastern University.