In a recent paper published in the journal Science, IBM researchers describe a new milestone in nanotechnology: the ability to measure the force required to move individual atoms. Their findings are an important step for understanding what types of atoms are best suited for building different kinds of nanoelectronic devices, based on how strong or weak of a bond they can form on different surfaces.
Microelectronic devices are made by repeating two steps: 1) Depositing a thin uniform layer of material; 2) Then using a photographic process to pattern and remove unwanted areas of that layer. Layer thickness determines the height of the device, photography determines its length and width. So, to make devices smaller, you can make the layers thinner and/or make the photographic features finer. Molecular Beam Epitaxy (MBE) is the all time champ at making thin layers - with MBE one can routinely make layers a single atom thick!
This film is the first work that was done on the new foused ion beam (FIB-SEM) at DTU (Technical University of Denmark)'s Center for Electron Nanoscopy, showing how a focused ion beam sculpts silicon chips into shapes in a matter of minutes.
This video demonstrates the basic construction of a working device using a small silicon gripper. The work is done in collaborations with two EU projects - NanoHand and NANORAC - gathering the top European laboratories and hi-tech companies in robotics, nanomanipulation, microscopy and nanofabrication to realize a first shot at a nanomanufacturing assembly line before 2009.
If you ever played with those plastic toy kits as a kid, you may wanna see this. The team prefabricated nanoscale needles, to be picked up by nanogrippers inside a scanning electron microscope. These nanobits are then used as ultralong tips in Atomic Force Microscopes.
This atomic smiley is written on a Ag(111) surface by manipulating individual silver atoms extracted from the native surface with the STM-tip. It has a radius of 18 nm. It is probably the world smallest smiley. It is created for public outreach, especially for the kids to inspire nanoscience. The big smile of this smiley is generated by surface electron standing waves. Yes, at the nanoscale, the electron can behave not only as a particle but also as a wave, a famous phenomenon known as wave particle duality. That is why we can see the electrons as water waves here creating a big smile.