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Friday, 19 August 2011

Argonne nanoscientists invent better etching technique

Argonne National Laboratory
Aug 18, 2011

Imagine yourself nano-sized, standing on the edge of a soon-to-be computer chip. Down shoots a beam of electrons, carving precise topography that is then etched the depth of the Grand Canyon into the chip.

From the perspective of scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Argonne National Laboratory, this improved form of etching could open the door to new technologies.

Argonne nanoscientist Seth Darling and colleagues at Argonne’s Center for Nanoscale Materials and Energy Systems Division say it has the potential to revolutionize how patterns are transferred onto different materials, paving a new approach for the next generation of energy, electronics and memory technologies.

The innovation combines new tricks with an old technology.

One of the biggest recent questions facing materials science has involved the development of better techniques for high-resolution lithographies such as electron-beam, or e-beam, lithography. E-beam lithography is used to manufacture the tiniest of structures, including microelectronics and advanced sensors; beams of electrons are part of a process that "prints" desired patterns into the substance.

Transferring patterns more deeply into materials would allow scientists to craft better electronics.
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