Update on DARPA Tip based nanofabrication and nanoscale metamaterials

DARPA 2013 budget justification is out and it updates progress on DARPA projects.

The two projects below were covered last year. $4.6 million in funding for the Tip-based nanofabrication project was cancelled for 2012. However, it appears that the 2012 goals were achieved in 2011.

1. Tip-Based Nanofabrication (TBN)

Funding of $11.618 million for 2011, no funding for 2012 and 2013

The Tip-Based Nanofabrication (TBN) program developed the capability to controllably manufacture, for selected defense applications, nano-scale structures such as nanowires, nanotubes, and quantum dots with nanometer-scale control over the size, orientation, and position of each nanostructure, using Atomic Force Microscope (AFM) cantilevers and tips. The selected defense applications included optical and biological sensors, diode lasers, light emitting diodes, infrared sensors, high density interconnects, and quantum computing. In addition to tip-based approaches, other methods for controlled nano-manufacturing were considered, including optical and bio-inspired approaches.

FY 2011 Accomplishments:
– Demonstrated operation of multi-tip arrays for use in manufacturing complex components.
– Demonstrated precision and control of the process and functionality for specific device designs.
– Demonstrated a low cost and scalable tip-based array of nano-patterning elements (over 20,000 elements) that allows for high throughput nano-fabrication and high resolution (less than 50 nanometers) over large areas.
– Demonstrated the fabrication of semiconducting nanowires, graphene ribbons, quantum dots, Kane q-bits, carbon nanotubes and other structures using tips-based nano-manufacturing (TBN) for specific device applications.

Nanoscale/Bio-inspired and MetaMaterials

FY 2011 $7.983 million
FY 2012 $10.000 million
FY 2013 $14.140 million

The research in this thrust area exploits advances in nanoscale and bio-inspired materials, including computationally based materials science, in order to develop unique microstructures and material properties. This area also includes efforts to develop the underlying physics for the behavior of materials whose properties have been engineered at the nanoscale level (metamaterials) and materials exhibiting a permanent electric charge (charged matter).

FY 2011 Accomplishments:
– Identified, through fractographic analysis, the strength-limiting flaws in nano-composite optical ceramics related to processing conditions.
– Demonstrated controlled fabrication of biophotonic structures.
– Applied scalable fabrication methods for bioinspired structures to demonstrate versatile spectroscopy for sensing and monitoring.
– Initiated computation to demonstrate that selected properties may be independently manipulated as a function of identified architectural parameters, to a regime currently unachievable.
– Initiated development of scalable fabrication methodologies of microtruss structures with control of strut element dimensions down to the micron length scale.
– Initiated development of capability to achieve multidimensional control of microstructural architecture and incorporate features with curvilinear geometries.

FY 2012 Plans:
– Apply fabrication techniques to produce materials with architectural features necessary to exhibit predicted properties, such as high strength at low density.
– Experimentally characterize effects of varying architectural features on selected material properties.
– Perform sensitivity analyses to develop and validate optimization algorithms for material properties.

Initiate development of multidimensional architecture-to-property design space fabrication of materials with architectural features necessary to exhibit predicted properties.

FY 2013 Plans:
– Optimize fabrication methods of materials with architectural features necessary to exhibit predicted properties.
– Initiate experimental optimization of architectural features to demonstrate improvement of selected material properties, such as strength, density, and stiffness, based on sensitivity analyses and experimental characterization.
– Continue development of multi-dimensional architecture-to-property design space fabrication of materials with architectural features necessary to exhibit predicted properties.
– Initiate studies to determine extent to which properties normally coupled, can be decoupled using architecture-to-properties design methodology.
– Initiate scalability studies to determine degree to which fabrication methods are amenable to scaling and degree to which architectural control can be maintained.

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