Nanosensor Manufacturing Workshop

Subject Area:
NNI Workshop Reports
Author: NNCO
Publication Date: Jun. 13 2017


The National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI) hosted the Nanosensor Manufacturing Workshop: Finding Better Paths to Products, in support of the Nanotechnology for Sensors and Sensors for Nanotechnology signature initiative (Sensors NSI), on June 13–14, 2017, in Arlington, Virginia. Participants, including Federal, private, and academic stakeholders, surveyed the ecosystem for taking a nanotechnology-enabled sensor from the research lab to production. Important issues related to manufacturing such as fabrication, testing, and product performance were examined. Key findings included the following:  

  • Performance and materials specifications play a critical role in guiding product development and can facilitate communication of technical requirements between sensors developers and their suppliers, manufacturers, and customers.
  • The availability and reliability of commercially sourced nanomaterials may be uncertain, posing a unique challenge for developers of nanotechnology-enabled sensors. These uncertainties will likely diminish as nanomaterial production processes mature.
  • Sensor testing can be improved by proactively creating a tiered testing strategy that spans the entire development process and by ensuring access to appropriate testbeds, either by building the testbeds in-house or working with an outside organization. While sensor arrays often provide powerful analytic capabilities, the inclusion of multiple sensor types can vastly complicate the testing process.
  • Attaining reproducible performance can reduce the need to fully test and calibrate every sensor in a large batch. Reproducibility depends on many factors such as fabrication tolerances, failure modes, and materials reliability.

Nanotechnology Fact

Nanotechnology encompasses science, engineering, and technology at the nanoscale, which is about 1 to 100 nanometers. Just how small is that? A nanometer is one-billionth of a meter. For reference, a sheet of paper is about 100,000 nanometers thick. Nanoscale matter can behave differently than the same bulk material. For example, a material’s melting point, color, strength, chemical reactivity, and more may change at the nanoscale.

Researchers seeking to understand the fundamentals of properties at the nanoscale may call their work nanoscience; those focused on effective use of the properties may call their work nanoengineering. Encompassing nanoscale science, engineering, and technology, nanotechnology involves imaging, measuring, modeling, and manipulating matter at the nanoscale.

Learn more in the Nano 101 section.

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