The Nano Lab is the first laboratory in the world to combine two complementary techniques that will enable both two- and three-dimensional fabrication and modification of nanoparticles.
Nano Lab, Swinburne's nanotechnology laboratory, facilitates research and education in nanotechnology. Housed in a clean room in the Advanced Technologies Centre at the Hawthorn campus, the laboratory has a suite of tools capable of three-dimensional (3D) and traditional two-dimensional (2D) structuring, device fabrication and materials processing.
Swinburne's researchers and their collaborators use the laboratory to explore a wide range of phenomena including light propagation, absorption and scattering by nanoparticles and nanostructures, and the efficiency of nanofabrication. Specific areas of research include solar cells, light harvesting and fabrication of surfaces for photo-catalytic application.
The $8 million facility houses state-of-the-art tools capable of the highest resolution nanofabrication – down to 10 nanometers (10.000 times smaller than a cross section of human hair).
The clean room is a sterile environment that allows us to fabricate and modify nanoparticles with more control than ever before and upscale their fabrication for industrial applications.
Professor Saulius Juodkazis
Professor of Nanophotonics
Laboratory tools include:
- electron beam lithography (EBL) – Raith 150two with 10 nm resolution
- ion beam lithography IBL – Raith IonLiNE (Ga+) with 10 nm resolution
- sputter-coater – JKLesker AXXIS e-beam evaporation and plasma sputtering (metals; dielectrics)
- dry-etcher – inductively coupled plasma etching Samco RIE-101iPH
- industrial high power ultra-short pulse laser – Pharos producing 1030, 515, 257 nm wavelength 230 fs laser pulses up to 600 kHz repetition rate with average power of 10W (1030nm) till 1W (257 nm)
- mask aligner – AOI (1-2 micron resolution).
The EBL, IBL, sputter-coater, dry-etcher and industrial high power ultra-short pulse laser are the first installations of their kind in Australia. The EBL and IBL (Raith) combination, working on the same hardware-software platform, is a world first.
The laboratory's research has had high impact outcomes and has led to publications in widely respected publications.
- mass production of sensors that can be used for detection of Alzheimers bio-markers (PhD project work by Dr Ricardo Buividas, a joint project with Altechna Ltd., Lithuania)
- development of black silicon – nano-spikey surfaces of silicon – which has a bactericidal effect and has biomedical applications
- creation of unique and new nanomaterials using ultra-short laser pulses, e.g., aluminium.
The laboratory is currently exploring 3D printing of bio-scaffolds using ultra-fast laser fabrication and using laser fabrication nanoparticles for sensing. This research is creating new directions in nanomedicine.
Nano Lab is partially funded by the state government through a Victorian Science Agenda grant. The laboratory obtained the nano-lithograph equipment through a partnership between Swinburne and German company Raith. The industrial high power ultra-short pulse laser was acquired through a provisional patent licence to Lithuanian company Altechna Ltd. Other international collaborations extend to Japan (Shizuoka, Yokohama and the Tokyo Institute of Technology), France (Bordeaux University) and the United States.