To achieve higher precision, most manufacturers pay close attention to the smallest of details. Nanomanufacturing uses the same concept but at a much deeper level. Nanomanufacturing is the production of nano-scaled materials (powders or fluids) used in several technologies such as laser ablation, etching and others. These materials help in further research and development efforts in various industries. They also help in the integration of top-down processes and increasingly complex bottom-up or self-assembly processes. The field of nanomanufacturing is so important today that almost every new development leads to a corresponding breakthrough in at least one of the industries dependent on it.
There are several new technologies that are dependent on new hybrid materials manufactured through nanotechnology. Today, basic 3D printing involves melting metals or plastics and applying it layer by layer to create an object. However, only one type of material or class of materials can easily be printed at a time since different materials have varying melting points. Therefore, the development of new hybrid materials with similar melting points could take 3D printing technology to the next level. Similarly, in the world of semiconductors, miniaturisation and high-volume processing are important in the production of complex circuits that are affordable and can be used in many devices. Presently, these are produced using photolithography techniques which are expensive. Researchers are now studying contact-controlled chemical etching to produce nanoscale-to-microscale size features. Such semiconductor can be selectively patterned. The pre-patterned stamp can be reused multiple times, and the resulting material is also highly scalable there-by lowering costs.
Researchers at Northeastern University have made great headway in the industry which was proved by their unveiling of the NanoOPS Gen 2. It is a second-generation-nanoscale offset printing system designed to drive innovation in fields such as medicine, electronics, and energy storage. Ahmed Busnaina, director of the Center for High-Rate Nanomanufacturing at Northeastern University, said that researchers are already using NanoOPS to develop a variety of materials for industry partners. These materials could potentially be used to develop new biosensors, implantable medical devices, and electronics.