A new technique that mimics the ancient Japanese art of kirigami may offer an easier way to fabricate complex 3D nanostructures for use in applications, including healthcare.

The researchers used kirigami at the nanoscale to create complex 3D nanostructures. These 3D structures are difficult to fabricate because current nanofabrication processes are based on the technology used to fabricate microelectronics which only use planar, or flat, films. Without kirigami techniques, complex three-dimensional structures would be much more complicated to fabricate or simply impossible to make.

By introducing minimum changes to the dimensions of the cuts in the film, the researchers drastically changed the 3D shape of the pop-up architectures and demonstrated nanoscale devices that can tilt or change their curvature just by changing the width of the cuts a few nanometers.

Future research will focus on applying these kirigami techniques to materials that are one atom thick, and thin actuators made of piezoelectrics.

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