Conformal Coating of Nanoporous Arrays via Layer-by-Layer Techniques


This technology describes a novel class of 3D molecular-layered nanoporous materials (High Definition Nanomaterials, or HDnanomaterials) that can be used to construct fluidic devices capable of isolating and manipulating nanometer-scale particles suspended in a fluid. Such devices have applications in areas including clinical diagnostics and treatment monitoring (e.g., manipulation of HIV viral particles or circulating tumor cells), as well as the construction of high-throughput taste and smell sensors.

Problem Addressed

The capability to recognize and isolate small bioparticles present at low concentrations in a fluid has significant utility in the diagnosis and management of diseases such as HIV and cancer. However, existing N/MEMS platforms are unable to access many nanometer-scale particles of clinical interest. Furthermore, previous attempts at nanoscale filtering are impaired by low flow rates as a result of low permeability. This invention overcomes these limitations by advancing on-chip bioparticle manipulation into previously unexplored length scales (e.g. HIV virus, ~100 nm) while retaining Darcy drag 4-5 orders of magnitude lower than existing porous materials.


The invention extends solution-based layer-by-layer (LBL) deposition to vertical aligned carbon nanotube (VACNT) forests, resulting in 3D bulk nanoporous materials where internal surfaces are modified with molecular-layered coatings. Surface characteristics of the multilayer coating, including chemical functionalization, mechanical properties, and nanometer-scale texture, can be tailored in all three dimensions by adjusting LBL assembly conditions. Additionally, porosity of the bulk material can be controlled by varying the growth conditions of the VACNT scaffold. In combination, these capabilities allow HDnanomaterials to be used for simultaneous multi-scale and multi-physics manipulation of nanoscale bioparticles. Beyond microfluidic applications, HDnanomaterials can also be post-processed to produce nanocomposites for structural, energy storage, and other applications.


  • Achieves 10,000-100,000x reduction in Darcy drag over existing porous materials, enabling high-throughput filtering and other microfluidic applications
  • Extends LBL deposition techniques onto 3D bulk nanoscale features