Theoretical investigation of thermal tweezers for parallel manipulation of atoms and nanoparticles on surfaces

Mason, Daniel Riordean (2009) Theoretical investigation of thermal tweezers for parallel manipulation of atoms and nanoparticles on surfaces. PhD by Publication, Queensland University of Technology.


A major focus of research in nanotechnology is the development of novel, high throughput techniques for fabrication of arbitrarily shaped surface nanostructures of sub 100 nm to atomic scale. A related pursuit is the development of simple and efficient means for parallel manipulation and redistribution of adsorbed atoms, molecules and nanoparticles on surfaces – adparticle manipulation. These techniques will be used for the manufacture of nanoscale surface supported functional devices in nanotechnologies such as quantum computing, molecular electronics and lab-on-achip, as well as for modifying surfaces to obtain novel optical, electronic, chemical, or mechanical properties. A favourable approach to formation of surface nanostructures is self-assembly. In self-assembly, nanostructures are grown by aggregation of individual adparticles that diffuse by thermally activated processes on the surface. The passive nature of this process means it is generally not suited to formation of arbitrarily shaped structures. The self-assembly of nanostructures at arbitrary positions has been demonstrated, though these have typically required a pre-patterning treatment of the surface using sophisticated techniques such as electron beam lithography. On the other hand, a parallel adparticle manipulation technique would be suited for directing the selfassembly process to occur at arbitrary positions, without the need for pre-patterning the surface. There is at present a lack of techniques for parallel manipulation and redistribution of adparticles to arbitrary positions on the surface. This is an issue that needs to be addressed since these techniques can play an important role in nanotechnology. In this thesis, we propose such a technique – thermal tweezers. In thermal tweezers, adparticles are redistributed by localised heating of the surface. This locally enhances surface diffusion of adparticles so that they rapidly diffuse away from the heated regions. Using this technique, the redistribution of adparticles to form a desired pattern is achieved by heating the surface at specific regions. In this project, we have focussed on the holographic implementation of this approach, where the surface is heated by holographic patterns of interfering pulsed laser beams. This implementation is suitable for the formation of arbitrarily shaped structures; the only condition is that the shape can be produced by holographic means. In the simplest case, the laser pulses are linearly polarised and intersect to form an interference pattern that is a modulation of intensity along a single direction. Strong optical absorption at the intensity maxima of the interference pattern results in approximately a sinusoidal variation of the surface temperature along one direction. The main aim of this research project is to investigate the feasibility of the holographic implementation of thermal tweezers as an adparticle manipulation technique. Firstly, we investigate theoretically the surface diffusion of adparticles in the presence of sinusoidal modulation of the surface temperature. Very strong redistribution of adparticles is predicted when there is strong interaction between the adparticle and the surface, and the amplitude of the temperature modulation is ~100 K. We have proposed a thin metallic film deposited on a glass substrate heated by interfering laser beams (optical wavelengths) as a means of generating very large amplitude of surface temperature modulation. Indeed, we predict theoretically by numerical solution of the thermal conduction equation that amplitude of the temperature modulation on the metallic film can be much greater than 100 K when heated by nanosecond pulses with an energy ~1 mJ. The formation of surface nanostructures of less than 100 nm in width is predicted at optical wavelengths in this implementation of thermal tweezers. Furthermore, we propose a simple extension to this technique where spatial phase shift of the temperature modulation effectively doubles or triples the resolution. At the same time, increased resolution is predicted by reducing the wavelength of the laser pulses. In addition, we present two distinctly different, computationally efficient numerical approaches for theoretical investigation of surface diffusion of interacting adparticles – the Monte Carlo Interaction Method (MCIM) and the random potential well method (RPWM). Using each of these approaches we have investigated thermal tweezers for redistribution of both strongly and weakly interacting adparticles. We have predicted that strong interactions between adparticles can increase the effectiveness of thermal tweezers, by demonstrating practically complete adparticle redistribution into the low temperature regions of the surface. This is promising from the point of view of thermal tweezers applied to directed self-assembly of nanostructures. Finally, we present a new and more efficient numerical approach to theoretical investigation of thermal tweezers of non-interacting adparticles. In this approach, the local diffusion coefficient is determined from solution of the Fokker-Planck equation. The diffusion equation is then solved numerically using the finite volume method (FVM) to directly obtain the probability density of adparticle position. We compare predictions of this approach to those of the Ermak algorithm solution of the Langevin equation, and relatively good agreement is shown at intermediate and high friction. In the low friction regime, we predict and investigate the phenomenon of ‘optimal’ friction and describe its occurrence due to very long jumps of adparticles as they diffuse from the hot regions of the surface. Future research directions, both theoretical and experimental are also discussed.

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ID Code: 30359
Item Type: QUT Thesis (PhD by Publication)
Supervisor: Gramotnev, Dmitri & Jaatinen, Esa
Additional Information: Recipient of 2009 Outstanding Doctoral Thesis Award.
Keywords: nanoscale, nanotechnology, nanostructures, nanoparticles, atomic scale, fabrication, manipulation,, quantum computing, molecular electronics, lab-on-a-chip, surface nanostructures, self-assembly, thermal tweezers, ODTA
Divisions: Past > QUT Faculties & Divisions > Faculty of Science and Technology
Institution: Queensland University of Technology
Deposited On: 10 Feb 2010 05:22
Last Modified: 18 Jun 2013 01:44

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