The realm of nano-scale devices may be approached from either side: from the top down, using small tools to build smaller tools, or from the bottom up, assembling new devices atom-by-atom or molecule-by-molecule. From the top-down, integrated circuit elements such as transistors are shrinking towards the nano-scale. As circuit elements become smaller enabling chip developers to pack larger numbers of elements into the same area, the complexity of these circuits and chips increases significantly.

 Traditional approaches of design and manufacturing are proving to be inadequate. New knowledge and techniques such as quantum mechanical effects should be applied to model and analyze the circuit behaviour. Meanwhile, other nanotech researchers are approaching design and fabrication from the bottom up, assembling things as nature does, atom-by-atom, molecule-by-molecule. Again, new techniques are needed, as new properties are observed. The Nano-fabrication Lab will study both of these problems: how to make the small even smaller, and how to assemble atoms and molecules into smart materials and working devices.

Projects in Nano-Electronics

  • ​Fundamental and applied research into flexible electronics; that is, electronics embedded on a mechanically flexible substrate such as plastic, rather than on traditional and brittle ones such as silicon.
  • Experimentation in electron beam lithography, to fabricate nanostructures and nanoelectronic devices, and to determine how the arrangement of molecules affects the chemical properties of substances.
  • Fundamental studies and development of nanocrystalline thin-film semiconductors, devices and circuits for electronics and spintronics.
  • Development and fabrication of Micro- and Nano-Electro Mechanical Systems (MEMS/NEMS). New devices being researched include NEMS-based metamaterials, miniature signal processing devices, biomedical, diagnostic and image processing devices, tiny wireless components (filters, mixers, antennas), miniature opto-electromechanical devices (optical relays, optical multiplexers, deformable optics), miniature biosensors and environmental sensors, and micro- and nano-fluidics devices.
  • Organic synthesis, characterization and application of molecular organic semiconductor materials for electronic/optoelectronic devices. These materials are uniquely positioned to allow low cost fabrication processes (e.g., printable electronics) and to enable novel applications, such as, flexible- and molecular-electronics.
  • University of Waterloo researchers will develop techniques to integrate NEMS/Complementary Metal Oxide Semiconductor (CMOS) to develop manipulators with atomic precision in all three dimensions with on-chip control. Example applications include: scanning probe microscopy, atomic force microscopy, nano-materials characterization and atomic resolution imaging. The overall objective is to develop technologies for precision nano-scale assembly and manufacturing.

People in Nano-Electronics