Cover Picture: Fabrication of Multicomponent Microsystems by Directed Three-Dimensional Self-Assembly (Adv. Funct. Mater. 5/2005)

15_05/2005Directed three-dimensional self-assembly to assemble and package integrated semiconductor devices is demonstrated by Jacobs and Zheng on p. 732. The self-assembly process uses geometrical shape recognition to identify different components and surface-tension between liquid solder and metal-coated areas to form mechanical and electrical connections.The components (top left) self-assemble in a turbulent flow (center) and form functional multi-component microsystems (bottom right) by sequentially adding parts to the assembly solution. The technique provides, for the first time, a route to enable the realization of three-dimensional heterogeneous microsystems that contain non-identical parts, and connecting them electrically.

We have developed a directed self-assembly process for the fabrication of three-dimensional (3D) microsystems that contain non-identical parts and a statistical model that relates the process yield to the process parameters. The self-assembly process uses geometric-shape recognition to identify different components, and surface tension between liquid solder and metal-coated areas to form mechanical and electrical connections. The concept is used to realize self-packaging microsystems that contain non-identical subunits. To enable the realization of microsystems that contain more than two non-identical subunits, sequential self-assembly is introduced, a process that is similar to the formation of heterodimers, heterotrimers, and higher aggregates found in nature, chemistry, and chemical biology. The self-assembly of three-component assemblies is demonstrated by sequentially adding device segments to the assembly solution including two hundred micrometer-sized light-emitting diodes (LEDs) and complementary metal oxide semiconductor (CMOS) integrated circuits. Six hundred AlGaInP/GaAs LED segments self-assembled onto device carriers in two minutes, without defects, and encapsulation units self-assembled onto the LED-carrier assemblies to form a 3D circuit path to operate the final device. The self-assembly process is a well-defined statistical process. The process follows a first-order, non-linear differential equation. The presented model relates the progression of the self-assembly and yield with the process parameters°™component population and capture probability°™that are defined by the agitation and the component design.

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Inside Front Cover: Freely Suspended Layer-by-Layer Nanomembranes: Testing Micromechanical Properties (Adv. Funct. Mater. 5/2005)

15_05b/2005A study of the micromechanical properties of layer-by-layer nanomembranes composed of a center layer of gold nanoparticles is reported by Tsukruk and co-workers on p. 771. The micro- and nanomechanical properties of these membranes are measured using a combination of resonance-frequency tests, bulging tests, and point-load nanodeflection experiments. These freely suspended nanomembranes (right) with an elastic modulus of 5®C10  GPa are very robust and can sustain multiple significant deformations (left, image obtained by B.  Rybak and P.  Kladitis). They are sensitive to variations in pressure and therefore have potential applications in pressure and acoustic sensors.

Freely suspended nanocomposite layer-by-layer (LbL) nanomembranes composed of a central layer of gold nanoparticles sandwiched between polyelectrolyte multilayers are fabricated via spin-assisted LbL assembly. The diameter of the circular membranes is varied from 150 to 600 &mgr;m and the thickness is kept within the range of 25®C70 nm. The micro- and nanomechanical properties of these membranes are studied using a combination of resonance-frequency and bulging tests, and point-load nanodeflection experiments. Our results suggest that these freely suspended nanomembranes, with a Young's modulus of 5®C10 GPa are very robust and can sustain multiple significant deformations. They are very sensitive to minor variations in pressure, surpassing ordinary semiconductor and metal membranes by three to four orders of magnitude and therefore have potential applications as pressure and acoustic microsensors.

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