Nanofountain probe (NFP) is a cantilevered micro-fluidic device terminated in a nanofountain. The embedded microfluidics facilitates rapid and continuous delivery of molecules from the on-chip reservoirs to the fountain tip. When the tip is brought into contact with the substrate, a liquid meniscus forms, providing a path for molecular transport to the substrate. By controlling the geometry of the meniscus through hold time and deposition speed, various inks and biomolecules could be patterned on a surface, with sub 100 nm resolution.
The advent of dip-pen nanolithography (DPN) in recent years represented a revolution in nanoscale patterning technology. With sub-100-nanometer resolution and an architecture conducive to massive parallelization, DPN is capable of producing large arrays of nanoscale features. As such, conventional DPN and other probe-based techniques are generally limited in their rate of deposition and by the need for repeated re-inking during extended patterning.
To address these challenges, nanofountain probe was developed by Espinosa et al. where microchannels were embedded in AFM probes to transport ink or bio-molecules from reservoirs to substrates, realizing continuous writing at the nanoscale. Integration of continuous liquid ink feeding within the NFP facilitates more rapid deposition and eliminates the need for repeated dipping, all while preserving the sub-100-nanometer resolution of DPN.
Nano fountain probes (NFPs) are fabricated on the wafer-scale using microfabrication techniques allowing for batch fabrication of numerous chips. Through the different generations of devices, design and experimentation improved the device yielding to a robust fabrication process. The highly enhanced feature dimension and shapes is expected to improve the performance in writing and imaging.
NFP is used in the development of a to scale, direct-write nanomanufacturing platform. The platform is capable of constructing complex, highly-functional nanoscale devices from a diverse suite of materials (e.g., nanoparticles, catalysts (increase rate of reaction), biomolecules, and chemical solutions). Demonstrated nanopatterning capabilities include:
• Functional nanoparticles for drug delivery studies and nanosystems making (fabrication)
• Catalysts for carbon nanotube growth in nanodevice fabrication
• Thiols for directed self-assembly of nanostructures.
Direct in-vitro single-cell injection
Taking advantage of the unique tip geometry of the NFP nanomaterials are directly injected into live cells with minimal invasiveness. This enables unique studies of nanoparticle-mediated delivery, as well as cellular pathways and toxicity. Whereas typical in vitro studies are limited to cell populations, these broadly-applicable tools enable multifaceted interrogation at a truly single cell level.
- 1. Kim, K.-H., et al. Massively parallel multi-tip nanoscale write with fluidic capabilities-fountain pen nanolithography (FPN). in Proceedings of the 4th International Symposium on MEMS and Nanotechnology. 2003. Charlotte, North Carolina.
- Moldovan, N., K.-H. Kim, and H.D. Espinosa, Design and fabrication of a novel microfluidic nanoprobe. Journal of Micromechanical Systems, 2006. 15: p. 204-213.
- Loh, O.Y., et al., Electric field-induced direct delivery of proteins by a nanofountain probe. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 2008. 105: p. 16438–43.
- Loh, O., et al., Nanofountain-probe-based high-resolution patterning and single-cell injection of functionalized nanodiamonds. Small, 2009. 5: p. 1667-1674.