Dan Oran Dissertation Defense

June 7, 2021
1:00pm ET

Dissertation Title: Implosion Fabrication – Rethinking 3D Nanofabrication from First Principles


Micro- and nanofabrication has revolutionized the world by enabling the explosion of ubiquitous electronic products and devices. However, the traditional lithography and deposition methods used in micro- and nanofabrication processes are planar in nature, with limited capacity for creating complex 3D structures. Techniques for 3D nanofabrication would ideally allow independent control over the geometry, feature size, and chemical composition of the final material. To address these needs we invented a fundamentally new technology for nanofabrication called Implosion Fabrication (ImpFab). This technology was borne of three basic insights. First, that 2D nanofabrication is predicated on the planar deposition of functional materials; therefore, a truly 3D nanofabrication process might be enabled by a method for volumetric deposition of functional materials. Second, that by patterning inside a scaffold material, such as hydrogel, it is possible to not only create any geometry, but also pattern gradients and multiple different materials. Lastly, that a controllably shrinkable scaffold allows for the chemical assembly of materials in 3D patterns at one scale, which once shrunken, can increase the resolution and concentration of the patterned materials. This means the original patterning and deposition steps can be performed using  machinery far less precise, and thus less expensive, than used for traditional 2D nanofabrication while eliminating the need to pattern sequential layers, vastly increasing the speed of 3D patterning while making layer-layer registration irrelevant. As a result, ImpFab expands the possibilities of nanofabrication in several fundamental ways that gives it the potential to create a revolution in fabrication much in the same way the planar process did for computation (Moore’s law) and microelectromechanical systems.

Committee members:

Ed Boyden, Y. Eva Tan Professor in Neurotechnology at MIT, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, McGovern Institute Professor, Departments of Brain and Cognitive Sciences, Media Arts and Sciences, and Biological Engineering
Joseph Jacobson, Associate Professor of Media Arts and Sciences
Ashwin Gopinath, Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering at MIT

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