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February 4th, 2010
Light microscopes of the past would only allow researchers to see particles as small as 500 nm; atomic force microscopes (AFMs) and scanning electron microscopes (SEMs)—with the help of nanotechnology probes and software—can see and create structures as small as 1 nm. These new innovations are pushing the technology edge in a wide variety of fields including life science, material science, semiconductors, and bioscience.
The dip pen nanolithography (DPN) product from NanoInk, Skokie, Ill., is just one example. DPN "is a research oriented product that has an integrated atomic force microscope in it," according to Tom Levesque, vice president of the Nanofabrication Division, NanoInk. The product allows researchers to make small structures in the 15 nm range out of a variety of materials for semiconductor and life science applications. These materials are transferred from a very sharp AFM tip to a surface. NanoInk uses the engine from the AFM to create a framework to transfer materials and write these nano-sized structures. The DPN technology is especially important to NanoInk's NanoBio and Nano Stem Cell divisions.
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