Wang, Miao (2009-08). Design and Fabrication of Nanochannel Devices. Doctoral Dissertation.
Nanochannel devices have been explored over the years with wide applications in bio/chemical analysis. With a dimension comparable to many bio-samples, such as proteins, viruses and DNA, nanochannels can be used as a platform to manipulate and detect such analytes with unique advantages. As a prerequisite to the development of nanochannel devices, various nanofabrication techniques have been investigated by many researchers for decades. In this dissertation, three different fabrication approaches for nanochannels are discussed, including a novel scanning coaxial electrospinning process, a heat-induced stretching approach and a standard contact photolithography process. The scanning coaxial electrospinning process is established based on conventional electrospinning process. A coaxial jet, with the motor oil as the core and spin-on-glass-coating/PVP solution as the shell, is deposited on the rotating collector as oriented coaxial nanofibers. These nanofibers are then annealed to eliminate the core material and form the hollow interior. Silica nanochannels with an inner diameter as small as 15 nm were obtained. The heat-induced stretching approach includes using commercially available fused silica tubings to create nanochannels by thermal deforming. This method and the electrospinning technique both focus on fabricate one-dimensional nanochannels with a circular opening. Fluorescent dye was used as a testing sample for single molecule detection and electrokinetic analysis in the resultant nanochannels. Another nanochannel device described in this dissertation has a deep-shallow step structure. It was fabricated by standard contact lithography, followed by etching and bonding. This device was applied as a powerful detection platform for surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS). The experiment results proved that it is able to highly improve the sensitivity and efficiency of SERS. The SERS enhancement factor obtained from the device is 108. Moreover, the molecule enrichment effect of this device provides an extra 105 enhancement. The detection can be efficiently finished within minutes after simply loading the mixture of analytes solution and gold nanoparticles in the device. The sample consumption is in micro-liter range. Potential applications in diagnostics, prognositics and water pollutants detection could be achieved using this device.