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Using Biomolecular Recognition to Selectively Self-Assemble Microscale Components onto Patterned Substrates Open Access


Other title
Integrated Circuit Self-Assembly
Protein Driven Self-Assembly
Die-to-Substrate Self-Assembly
Fluidic Self-Assembly
Self-assembled Monolayers
Microscale Integrated Circuit Chips
Type of item
Degree grantor
University of Alberta
Author or creator
Olsen, Trevor AS
Supervisor and department
Dew, Steven (Electrical & Computer Engineering)
Stepanova, Maria (Electrical & Computer Engineering)
Examining committee member and department
Stepanova, Maria (Electrical & Computer Engineering)
Unsworth, Larry (Chemical & Materials Engineering)
Chen, Jie (Electrical & Computer Engineering)
Dew, Steven (Electrical & Computer Engineering)
Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering
Microsystems and Nanodevices
Date accepted
Graduation date
Master of Science
Degree level
Modern nanofabrication technology in the 21st century has continued year after year to push the boundaries of what is possible at the nanoscale. With the advent of molecular electronics, single electron devices, nanoelectromechanical systems (NEMS), and other nanotechnologies, the near future will see a requirement for the die-to-substrate assembly of components that are much smaller than conventional robotic pick-and-place technologies can accommodate. Many researchers have proposed the mechanism of self-assembly to replace robotic pick-and-place technologies and meet the micro/nanoscale assembly needs of some future technologies. Presented here is a biologically inspired approach for the selective self-assembly of micron-scale components onto lithographically patterned target sites on a substrate. Two mechanisms of selective adhesion through biomolecular recognition are explored and tested in this thesis: the strong protein-ligand interaction between avidin and biotin, and the hybridization interaction that occurs between two complementary single-stranded DNA oligonucleotides. Other than the benefits in scale, the method of integration by self-assembly may be advantageous for its parallel nature, 3D capabilities, and the ability to integrate devices made from incompatible processing technologies into a single platform (heterogeneous integration). Square silicon microtiles with widths ranging from 5 µm to 25 µm were chosen to be test devices (model ‘nanochips’) for the assembly. These devices, fabricated from silicon-on-insulator (SOI) substrates, were coated with a thin film of gold on one side, deposited by sputtering. A buffered oxide underetch of the buried SiO2 layer left the microtiles attached to the SOI handle substrate only by narrow SiO2 pillars. This allowed for facile release of the microtiles into solution from the front side of the substrate by ultrasound fracture of the SiO2 pillars in a bath sonicator. In the initial demonstration, self-assembled monolayers (SAMs) were employed to functionalize both the microtiles and the gold pads with biotin and avidin, respectively. Preliminary experiments employed commercially functionalized gold nanoparticles and polystyrene microspheres to develop reliable procedures for forming avidin and biotin SAMs on gold. After the gold-coated microtiles were functionalized with a biotin SAM and a target substrate had its gold pads functionalized with an avidin SAM, the microtiles were released into a solution of phosphate buffered saline (PBS) containing a low concentration of polysorbate 20. The avidin-functionalized target substrate was then placed in this solution. Self-assembly of the microtiles onto the substrate was achieved by intermittently stirring the solution over 24 hours. In the most successful demonstration, 5 µm square microtiles were self-assembled onto patterned 5 µm square gold pads on the target substrate. After rinsing, the avidin-biotin self-assembly method yielded 2.0% of the total target pads covered by assembled microtiles at a selectivity ratio of 7.3:1 in favour of microtiles affixed to the target pads as opposed to the surrounding silicon substrate. DNA-driven self-assembly of the microtiles was also successfully demonstrated at a lower yield using similar procedures.
Permission is hereby granted to the University of Alberta Libraries to reproduce single copies of this thesis and to lend or sell such copies for private, scholarly or scientific research purposes only. Where the thesis is converted to, or otherwise made available in digital form, the University of Alberta will advise potential users of the thesis of these terms. The author reserves all other publication and other rights in association with the copyright in the thesis and, except as herein before provided, neither the thesis nor any substantial portion thereof may be printed or otherwise reproduced in any material form whatsoever without the author's prior written permission.
Citation for previous publication
T. Olsen, J. Ng, M. Stepanova and S. K. Dew, "Programmed self-assembly of microscale components using biomolecular recognition through the avidin--biotin interaction," Journal of Vacuum Science & Technology B, vol. 32, no. 6, p. 06F301, 2014.

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