A surprising low-tech tool—Scotch Magic tape—was one of the keys to the discovery
An international group of researchers from the University of Minnesota, Argonne National Laboratory and Seoul National University have discovered a groundbreaking technique in manufacturing nanostructures that has the potential to make electrical and optical devices smaller and better than ever before. A surprising low-tech tool of Scotch Magic tape ended up being one of the keys to the discovery.
The research is published today in Nature Communications, an international online research journal.
Combining several standard nanofabrication techniques—with the final addition of the Scotch Magic tape—researchers at the University of Minnesota created extremely thin gaps through a layer of metal and patterned these tiny gaps over the entire surface of a four-inch silicon wafer. The smallest gaps were only one nanometer wide, much smaller than most researchers have been able to achieve. In addition, the widths of the gaps could be controlled on the atomic level. This work provides the basis for producing new and better nanostructures that are at the core of advanced electronic and optical devices.
One of the potential uses of nanometer-scale gaps in metal layers is to squeeze light into spaces much smaller than is otherwise possible. Collaborators at Seoul National University, led by Prof. Dai-Sik Kim, and Argonne National Laboratory, led by Dr. Matthew Pelton, showed that light could readily be squeezed through these gaps, even though the gaps are hundreds or even thousands of times smaller than the wavelength of the light used. Researchers are very interested in forcing light into small spaces because this is a way of boosting the intensity of the light. The collaborators found that the intensity inside the gaps is increased by as much as 600 million times.
“Our technology, called atomic layer lithography, has the potential to create ultra-small sensors with increased sensitivity and also enable new and exciting experiments at the nanoscale like we’ve never been able to do before,” said Sang-Hyun Oh, one of the lead researchers on the study and a professor of electrical and computer engineering in the University of Minnesota’s College of Science and Engineering. “This research also provides the basis for future studies to improve electronic and photonic devices.”
One of the most surprising outcomes of the research is that Scotch Magic tape was one of the keys to the discovery. Etching one-nanometer-wide gaps into metals is not feasible with existing tools. Instead, the researchers in Oh’s team constructed the nano-gaps by layering atomic-scale thin films on the sides of metal patterns and then capping the structure with another metal layer. No expensive patterning tools were needed to form the gaps this way, but it was challenging to remove the excess metals on top and expose the tiny gaps. During a frustrating struggle of trying to find a way to remove the metal films, University of Minnesota Ph.D. student and lead author of the study Xiaoshu Chen found that by using simple Scotch Magic tape, the excess metals could be easily removed.
“The Scotch tape works nicely, which was unexpected,” said Oh. “Our technique is so simple yet can create uniform and ultra-small gaps like we’ve never been able to do before. We hope that it will rapidly be taken up by many researchers.”
The Latest on: Nanofabrication
- Company Overview of IMS Nanofabrication GmbH on April 8, 2019 at 6:49 am
IMS Nanofabrication GmbH develops electron multi-beam mask writer systems. It develops lithography tools for the semiconductor and nanotech industry. The company focuses on massively parallel charged ... […]
- International Center for Materials Nanoarchitectonics eBulletin: Advanced Nano-fabrication Technology Catalyzing Discovery and Innovation at MANA on March 21, 2019 at 10:12 am
Advanced nano-fabrication technology catalyzing discovery and innovation at MANAToshihide NabatameManager of the Namiki Foundry, MANA Facilities for lithography and nanofabrication were established at ... […]
- Microscopic Robots Made from Silicon, Powered by Light on March 12, 2019 at 4:24 am
PHILADELPHIA, March 12, 2019 — Using novel nanofabrication techniques, researchers from the University of Pennsylvania and Cornell University have built micro-robots made from silicon and powered by ... […]
- New cell-sized micro robots might make incredible journeys on March 8, 2019 at 11:56 am
Researchers have created tiny functional, remote-powered, walking robots, developing a multistep nanofabrication technique that turns a 4-inch specialized silicon wafer into a million microscopic ... […]
- IMS Nanofabrication Announces Electron Multi-Beam Mask Writer Collaboration with DNP, Intel and Photronics on January 22, 2019 at 4:00 pm
"We are pleased with the support being provided by DNP, Intel and Photronics as we work to develop our electron mask exposure tool (eMET) technology for sub 22nm mask writing applications," said Max ... […]
- The Pennsylvania State University's Nanofabrication Lab Orders Advanced-Configuration Temescal Electron Beam Metallization System from Ferrotec on January 15, 2019 at 7:23 am
LIVERMORE, Calif., Jan. 15, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- Ferrotec Corporation, a global supplier of materials, components, and precision system solutions and the leading manufacturer of electron beam ... […]
- The Pennsylvania State University's Nanofabrication Lab Orders Advanced-Configuration Temescal Electron Beam Metallization System from Ferrotec on January 14, 2019 at 4:00 pm
New advanced-configuration Temescal FC-2000 packs state-of-the-art process technologies into a compact, R&D-class system for enhanced development of nanomaterial thin films and materials research. ... […]
- Researchers develop sub-7-nm memory device without nanofabrication on August 21, 2018 at 7:40 am
Scientists have developed some of the tiniest magnets to date, just 3-7 nanometers (nm) in size. Due to their small dimensions and high thermal stability, as well as the simple self-assembly process ... […]
- Kirigami Paper Folding Inspires Advanced 3D Nanofabrication Research on July 16, 2018 at 11:31 am
When it comes to 3D printed folding research, we hear most often about projects inspired by origami. But as new research coming out of the Chinese Academy of Sciences shows, we shouldn’t discount the ... […]
- Emerging nanofabrication and quantum confinement techniques for 2D materials beyond graphene on July 15, 2018 at 5:00 pm
Recent advances in growth techniques have enabled the synthesis of high-quality large area films of 2D materials beyond graphene. As a result, nanofabrication methods must be developed for ... […]
via Google News and Bing News