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Posted: Sep 06, 2012
Mass fabrication technology for nanoscale devices
(Nanowerk News) EU-funded researchers initiated development of a low-cost, precise mass production technique for functional devices on the scale of molecules.
Nanotechnology, or the engineering of functional systems on the scale of nanometres (the size of atoms and molecules), has opened the door to amazing properties and characteristics of new materials. However, the fast, reliable and cost-effective mass production of nano-scale systems has proven difficult.
In order to produce functional systems on substrates on the scale of nanometres, nanopatterning technologies are used to organise molecules, atoms or ions on substrates analogous to components on a conventional printed circuit board. Focused ion beam (FIB) technology is one of the most promising for creation of complex three-dimensional (3D) surface structures.
European researchers initiated the ‘Charged particle nanotech’ (Charpan) project to develop FIB fabrication technology for low-cost mass production of nano-scale systems.
The main innovation was development of a massively parallel multi-beam device. Scientists focused on generating approximately 40,000 ion ‘beamlets’ which, together with stencil masks through which a material is deposited on the substrate, would enable pattern resolution of less than 20 nanometres.
Charpan technology has great potential for application to fabrication of complex masks, stencils and templates used to pattern nanostructures as well as to nanophotonics, nanomagnetics, nanobiotechnology and energy conversion.