Our Anodized Aluminum Oxide (AAO) Nanopore Templates


images illustrating Enable IPC AAO nanopore template technology

Enable IPC has a patent pending on a new technology that allows the creation of an anodized aluminum oxide (AAO) nanopore template directly on a silicon substrate. This means we can create an alumina disc with tiny holes (called nanopores), each about 1/1000th the diameter of a human hair. We are able to do this with a great amount of precision and accuracy. And we can do this without dopants, meaning it could be used in a semiconductor process.

To give you an idea of what we've been able to accomplish, we're posting some micrographic images of our product and asking you to compare with other products; we can't post the images of the comparable templates because they are copyrighted, but take a look at them (http://www.2spi.com/catalog/spec_prep/filter2.shtml) and compare ours pictured to the right. The quality and precision of each are very obvious and apparent.

One can readily see how the Enable IPC images show ordered nanopores, with holes that penetrate uniformly through the material. One can easily see that the nanopores in the other images are scattered, less uniform and do not always penetrate evenly through the alumina.

In addition to these obvious differences, we can also precisely control the size of the nanopores, from as small as 10 nm to as large as 200 nm in diameter.

images illustrating Enable IPC AAO nanopore template technology

Finally, this image shows that not only can we make ordered nano-sized pores in the material, we can also precisely control the placement and configuration of the template itself. Our technological breakthrough allows us to create these nanopores in whatever manner we choose. In the image we made the letters IP out of a nanopore template.

So, what does the fact that we can create these nanopores was tremendous consistency, precision, accuracy, and in whenever configuration we choose matter? What can be done with an AAO nanopore template?

The first, and probably most obvious commercial application is for filtering of nano-sized particles. As mentioned earlier, these nanopores can be fabricated in most any size we see fit, between 10 nm and 200 nm in diameter. They can therefore be used in a number of applications including certain medical and environmental uses.

In addition, these nanopores can be filled with materials and the template etched a way to create nanowires - tiny poles which stand on end. For example, Enable IPC has filled these nanopores with battery cathode materials and etched away the template to create battery cathodes and make working microbatteries with tremendous surface area and greater power. These nanowires could also be used in some medical devices to attach themselves to certain cells.

Our manufacturing method is relatively inexpensive, consisting primarily of electrochemical deposition as opposed to more expensive processes. Again, the procedure allows for a tremendous amount of control, precision and accuracy while keeping costs relatively low.

Additional information on this technology is available from Dr. Daniel Choi at the Masdar Institue in the United Arab Emirates dchoi@masdar.ac.ae.


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