Public Release:  Breakthrough in micro-device fabrication combines biology and synthetic chemistry

Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

ATLANTA, Ga. - Sept. 20, 2005 - Nanostructured micro-devices may be mass produced at a lower cost, and with a wider variety of shapes and compositions than ever before, for dramatic improvements in device performance by utilizing very small biologically produced structures. These entirely new biologically-enabled approaches are detailed in the current issue of the International Journal of Applied Ceramic Technology, published on behalf of The American Ceramic Society.

This study's newly invented approaches for the low-cost mass production of micro-devices could yield unprecedented breakthroughs in genetically engineered microdevices (GEMs) for biomedical, computing, environmental cleanup, defense and numerous other applications.

Conventional microfabrication processes, similar to methods used to make computer microchips, are expensive (i.e., capital equipment intensive) and not well-suited for directly producing large numbers of complex, three-dimensional, nanostructured devices with a wide variety of chemistries and properties. Nature, on the other hand, provides spectacular examples of micro-organisms that synthesize microscopic nanostructured shells with well-controlled and highly-reproducible 3-D shapes and features currently unattainable by manmade processes. However, the naturally occurring diatom microshells do not have the specific properties needed for device applications, such as electrical conductivity, biocompatibility, thermal stability, and chemical compatibility.

According to the study's lead author, Kenneth Sandhage, "By demonstrating that biologically derived structures can be chemically modified without changing the starting shapes or fine features, we have opened the door for new research and development in the processing and application of many devices that would otherwise be very difficult or expensive to produce."

###

This study is published in the International Journal of Applied Ceramic Technology. Mediawishing to receive a PDF of the article contact please ProfessionalNews@bos.blackwellpublishing.net.

Ken H. Sandhage, PhD. is the B. Mifflin Hood Professor of Ceramic Engineering and Director of the Biologically Enabled Advanced Manufacturing Center at the School of Materials and Science Engineering, and the Institute for Bioengineering and Biosciences, Georgia Institute of Technology. Dr. Sandhage is available for questions and interviews and can be reached at (404) 894-6882 or ken.sandhage@mse.gatech.edu.

About the Journal
The International Journal of Applied Ceramic Technology publishes cutting edge applied research and development work focused on commercialization of engineered ceramics, products and processes. The publication also explores the barriers to commercialization, design and testing, environmental health issues, international standardization activities, databases, and cost models. Designed to get high quality information to end-users quickly, the peer process is led by an editorial board of experts from industry, government, and universities. Each issue focuses on a high-interest, high-impact topic plus includes a range of papers detailing applications of ceramics.

About the Society
The American Ceramic Society (ACerS) is a 100-year-old non-profit organization that serves the informational, educational, and professional needs of the international ceramics community. The Society's more than 7,500 members comprise a wide variety of individuals and interest groups that include engineers, scientists, researchers, manufacturers, plant personnel, educators, students, marketing and sales professionals, and others in related materials disciplines. ACerS provides members and subscribers in 80 countries with access to periodicals and books, meetings and expositions, and on-line technical information. Find more information at www.ceramics.org.

About Blackwell Publishing
Blackwell Publishing is the world's leading society publisher, partnering with more than 600 academic and professional societies. Blackwell publishes over 750 journals annually and, to date has published close to 6,000 text and reference books, across a wide range of academic, medical, and professional subjects.

Disclaimer: AAAS and EurekAlert! are not responsible for the accuracy of news releases posted to EurekAlert! by contributing institutions or for the use of any information through the EurekAlert system.