Posted: June 21, 2006

Mechanical masks for advanced nanofabrication devices

(Nanowerk News) Aiming at developing and exploiting advanced nanostructure generation techniques, the NANOCOLD project, sponsored under the EU's Fifth Framework Program, focused on microfabrication of mechanical masks for massive parallel nanolithography.
On the basis of the deposition of atoms focused by laser beam, atom lithography nanotechnologies have been developed for the accurate fabrication of nanostructures in the ten nanometres range. Particularly interesting is atom lithography of group III materials, such as In and Ga, two key elements for many electronics, optoelectronics and information technology applications.
One of the major NANOCOLD project results was the development of mechanical masks that allow massive parallel deposition, which results in high quality nanostructures. More specifically, newly developed procedures are capable of both serial and parallel fabricated working devices that enable shadow deposition of cold atom material on a sub-300nm scale.
The clogging issues identified under previous research work were studied in detail and it was showed that they can be controlled. Moreover, these problems can be significantly minimised when using suitable geometries of the mechanical masks. Despite the fact that the masks have been tested on atom species, they show increased potentialities to be also applied for molecules and polymers.
The developed shadow masking devices can define structures on a sub-100nm scale through evaporation techniques using open apertures. This would allow definition of arbitrary structures on the same scale by scanning the device with piezotranslators. Partners interested in using deposition of material through sub-micron shadow masks for application of building structures in a bottom-to-top manner are sought for further collaboration.
Source: Cordis