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Diatom-Enabled Scalable Nanomanufacturing

A simple technique for harnessing the remarkable properties of algal exoskeletons could lead to advances in nanotechnologies. Frustules, the silica cell walls of diatomic algae, are intricate and multilayered porous structures with extraordinary strength, large surface areas and unique optical characteristics. Controlling the alignment and orientation of the frustules is key to exploiting their attributes but has so far proved challenging, limiting their potential applications. We have developed an efficient method for generating uniformly oriented frustules. Our findings demonstrate a scalable process for producing large areas of aligned frustules that could facilitate micro/nanomanufacturing of biotemplated structures for a host of practical technological applications.

Representative Publications (#denotes graduate students/postdocs supervised by X. Zhang; *denotes corresponding author by X. Zhang; +denotes contributed equally.)

A. Li#, W. Zhang#, R. Ghaffarivardavagh#, X. Wang#, S.W. Anderson, X. Zhang*, "Towards Uniformly Oriented Diatom Frustule Monolayers: Experimental and Theoretical Analyses," Microsystems & Nanoengineering - Nature, 2016, 2: 16064(11pp). [DOI; Featured Article]

J. Cai#, X. Wang#, A. Li#, S.W. Anderson, and X. Zhang*, "Biologically Enabled Micro- and Nanostencil Lithography Using Diatoms," Extreme Mechanics Letters, 2015, 4: 186-192. [DOI; Cover Image]

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