Nanofluidic Channels for Lab-on-Chip: Nanofluidic channels are useful for many biological and chemical applications, such as DNA sequencing, drug delivery and molecular sensing and detection. But in the effort to build a versatile lab-on-a-chip, it has been challenging to develop a wafer-scale nanochannel fabrication process compatible with CMOS technology. At the IEDM, IBM researchers will report on a CMOS-compatible 200mm wafer-scale sub-20nm nanochannel fabrication method that enables stretching, translocation and real-time fluorescence microscopy imaging of single DNA molecules. Through the use of sacrificial XeF2 etching and various UV and e-beam lithography methods, sub-20nm patterns in silicon were converted into macro-scale fluidic ports, micro-scale fluidic feed channels, and nano-scale channels for DNA imaging. Gradient nanopillars were located in the channels to stretch DNA molecules prior to imaging them. Fluid wasn’t pumped through the channels, but instead was transported by the force of gravity. The researchers say their techniques lead to highly manufacturable structures and can produce chips for a variety of biological applications. (Paper #14.1, “200mm Wafer-Scale Integration of Sub-20nm Sacrificial Nanofluidic Channels for Manipulating and Imaging Single DNA Molecules,” C. Wang, S. Nam et al, IBM)
Left: SEM electron microscope photo of silicon nanochannels. Right: Optical photos showing A,B) nanochannels with vent holes on 1-2µm SiO2 capping layer, on top of silicon patterns; and C,D) following gas etching and removal of silicon patterns.