Project Overview

NIRT: Hierarchical Bionanomanufacturing

# 0609265
Robert Clark (Principal Investigator)
Eric Toone (Co-Principal Investigator)
Ashutosh Chilkoti (Co-Principal Investigator)
Stefan Zauscher (Co-Principal Investigator)

The objective of this Nanoscale Interdisciplinary Research Team (NIRT) project is to develop hierarchical manufacturing processes for parallel fabrication of biomolecular and polymer components on surfaces with nanometer resolution and to trigger their function by external signals. Deposition of these soft biological materials on surfaces of engineered materials with nanoscale precision and their externally triggered control will afford unprecedented opportunities to conduct basic research in the biological sciences, develop new diagnostic sensing devices for medical applications, and advance drug discovery. Research in this project will pursue two parallel, but complementary research pathways. The first path will focus on patterning surfaces with chemical features to position proteins and metal nanostructures on the surface with nanoscale precision and to develop the engineering hardware and software tools required to trigger the activity of these patterned components with an external signal, creating active nanostructures. The second research path will focus on the development of a massively parallel implementation of the surface patterning process to enable high-throughput manufacturing of nanoscale features through stamping.

The largest hurdle in the advancement of bionanomanufacturing is the development of nanofabrication processes that are compatible with water, enable mass production without the need for a clean-room, and are biocompatible. This project's activities address this issue through the integration and development of existing and new tools to enable hierarchical manufacturing that is directly relevant to the biotechnology industry. Specifically, new, innovative fabrication tools and strategies for the integration of nature's soft-wetCE materials and engineering's hard-dryCE materials at the nanoscale will be developed. This highly multidisciplinary research effort draws upon expertise in the biological sciences, chemistry, materials science, and engineering to fabricate hierarchical bionanostructures with functional relevance to automation of the biotechnology industry.

Source: NSF