Nano hub for industry

Melbourne Centre for Nanofabrication is a hub of academic activity, where researchers in industry and academia across Victoria and Australia can collaborate on projects together.

First published: 18/06/2014

Updated at: 12/06/2014 at 3:43 pm

Dwayne Kirk, has a vision for the Melbourne Centre for Nanofabrication (MCN) in Clayton.

“The MCN is becoming a technical hub for industry, where companies can find expertise and instruments for high-grade micro/nano fabrication,” the Managing Director said.

The huge walls at the Melbourne Centre for Nanofabrication enclose technologies to make the smallest of small devices.

The state-of-the-art premises in Clayton include Class 100 – 10,000 cleanroom facilities, a reconfigurable bio-chemistry lab, microscopy lab and Poly Di Methyl Siloxane (PDMS) lab.

These house specialist equipment such as Focused Ion Beam microscopy and Electron Beam Lithography which enables users to ‘write’ a pattern on a wafer in strokes 5,000 times thinner than a human hair.

“Using world leading technology, we manipulate chemical and biological nano-structures to design, prototype and fabricate nano-devices,” Dwayne Kirk said.

“This is relevant in many different fields including energy, biosensing, micro-nano fluidic devices, nanomedicine and drug delivery, micro-mechanical systems, optics and medical bionics.”

Using micro and nanotechnology fabrication methods from the microelectronics industry, MCN can take a proof of concept project and scale it to achieve batch production for industry, as was done for industry client, Vaxxas in the production of their vaccine nanopatch devices.

Vaxxas is one of the companies that has taken up residency at the MCN premises, along with renewable energy technology company, Eden BDM Limited; and diagnostic experts, Biodetectors.

“Eden BDM was the recipient of technology voucher funding from the Victorian State Government last year to develop a prototype of a microfluidic nanoflow battery which can be recharged from the recovered energy of the moving car,” said Dwayne.

The battery will be made up of 168 battery cells which combine microfluidics, miniaturised flow battery architecture and nano capacitors.

Initial prototypes of these cells have been fabricated on a high resolution 3D printer at MCN using a special transparent epoxy acrylate resin with a printing resolution below 30 microns.

Another concept under development at MCN is the point-of-care diagnostic test for viruses and bacteria, with technology first developed at RMIT, was further developed by Biodetectors Pty Ltd at the MCN.

MCN is also a hub of academic activity, where researchers from across Victoria and Australia can collaborate on projects together.

One such project was the partnership between MCN, the Australian Synchrotron, CSIRO, RMIT and Monash University which established that zinc oxide nanoparticles in consumer products such as sunscreen, were unlikely to cause harm as the body’s immune system succeeds in breaking them down.

Using the focused ion beam system, gallium ions milled away ultra-thin layers from the cells treated with zinc oxide nanoparticles, one layer at a time. The samples were then analysed by the Australian Synchrotron to determine how the nanoparticles were being processed and degraded by the immune system.

Technology at MCN includes a Design and Prototyping Objet 3D Printer, Nano-array Spotter Electron Beam Lithography, Focused Ion Beam,  Nano Imprint Lithography, PDMS Lab Intelligent Micro Patterning, Hot Embossers, Atomic Force Microscopes, a Laser Doppler Vibrometer, Profilometer, Lightfield Microspectrometer, Hyperspectral Imaging Electron Beam Evaporator, ALD Fiji F200, Savannah S100 Thermal Evaporator, Gold Electroplating, Nickel Electroplating Sputter Systems,  Hi-Tech Furnace,  Plasma Enhanced CVD Diamond, CVD Polymer, Reactive Ion Etching, General Wet Dicing Saw Scriber, Breaker Wedge and Ball Bonders.

“Our technology is available to either academic or industry researchers and we pride ourselves on delivering a solution with fast turn-around and high quality.” Dwayne said.

For more information go to MCN or Melbourne Centre for Nanofabrication

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