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Researchers from the University of Washington (UW) have developed a method that could make reproducible manufacturing at the nanoscale possible.
The team adapted an existing technique pioneered by Arthur Ashkin, optical tweezers, to operate in a water-free liquid environment of carbon-rich organic solvents. Traditional optical tweezing methods have been used almost exclusively in water or vacuum-based environments.
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. The energy from the laser superheats the metallic tip of the trapped nanorod, allowing the aligned nanorods to be welded together end-to-end in a…