UPDATED TOPIC AND SPEAKER: We used atomic layer deposition (ALD) and microfabrication techniques to make robust plates out of a single continuous ALD layer with cm-scale lateral dimensions and thicknesses between 25 and 100 nm, creating the thinnest freestanding plates that can be picked up by hand. We also fabricated and characterized nanocardboard – plate metamaterials made from multiple layers of nanoscale thickness, whose geometry and properties are reminiscent of honeycomb sandwich plates or corrugated paper cardboard. Ultralow weight, mechanical robustness, thermal insulation, as well as chemical and thermal stability of alumina make plate metamaterials attractive for numerous applications, including structural elements in flying microrobots and interstellar light sails, high-temperature thermal insulation in energy converters, photophoretic levitation, as well as ultrathin sensors and resonators. I will briefly discuss our experimental progress on all these applications, including demonstrations of extremely robust thermal insulators that can sustain a temperature drop of ~1000 K across a micron-scale gap, macroscopic plates that levitate when illuminated by light, and hollow AFM cantilevers that offer greatly enhanced sensitivity and data acquisition rates.
Igor Bargatin received the B.S. degree in theoretical physics from Lomonosov Moscow State University, and the Ph.D. degree in physics and electrical engineering from the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena. After postdoctoral appointments at LETI/Minatec (Grenoble, France) and Stanford University, he became the Class of 1965 Term Assistant Professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering and Applied Mechanics (MEAM), University of Pennsylvania. Prof. Bargatin's research interests are focused on micro- and nanomechanical structures for new applications in energy conversion, ultra-lightweight materials, and new mechanisms of levitation.