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Assembly of Polymer-Functionalized Nanoparticles on Metal Droplets for Electronics

Dinsmore at the UMass Materials Research Science and Engineering Center demonstrated a simple and robust approach to fabricating nano-scale electrical contacts to nanoparticles. PEGfunctionalized nanoparticles assemble spontaneously on droplets of liquid metal; when two droplets are brought into contact, they remain separated by the nanoparticles at the interface (top figure). Junctions formed by this method show electron transport that is limited by the nanoparticles (bottom figure). The conductance can be tuned by a gate electrode to make transistors at the micronscale. This approach will lead to scalable device fabrication, since nanoparticle-coated liquid-metal droplets can be deposited over large areas using this straightforward processes. (K. Du et al., Small 5, 1974 (2009)). This research was featured by the editors of Nature Nano, and in a News & Views piece by D. Vanmaekelbergh (v4, p. 475).