Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors

Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button

Home > Press > Argonne nanoscientists invent better etching technique

Abstract:
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.

Argonne nanoscientists invent better etching technique

Argonne, IL | Posted on August 20th, 2011

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.

To create a pattern using e-beam lithography, researchers have conventionally traced a pattern within a layer called a "resist," which is then etched into the underlying substrate.

Because the resist is thin and fragile, an intermediate "hard mask" is generally laid between the resist and the substrate. Ideally, the hard mask would stick to the substrate long enough for the desired features to be etched and then be cleanly removed—though the extra layer often results in blurriness, rough edges and additional costs and complications.

But over the course of the past several years, Darling and his colleagues have developed a technique called sequential infiltration synthesis (SIS). Another method of building custom designs at the nanoscale level, SIS involves the controlled growth of inorganic materials within polymer films. This means that scientists can construct materials with unique properties and even with complex, 3-D geometries.

"With SIS, we can take that thin, delicate resist film and make it robust by infiltrating it with inorganic material," Darling explained. "That way, you don't need an intermediate mask, so you get around all the problems associated with that extra layer."

Although some resists might work better than others under certain conditions, no single approach had yet demonstrated the ability to ingrain a pattern with the ease, depth and fidelity of the Argonne approach, Darling said.

"It's possible we might be able to create very narrow features well over a micron deep using only a very thin, SIS-enhanced etch mask, which from our perspective would be a breakthrough capability," he said.

By combining sequential infiltration synthesis with block copolymers, molecules that can assemble themselves into a variety of tunable nanostructures, this technique can be extended to create even smaller features than are possible using e-beam lithography. The key is to design a selective reaction between the inorganic precursor molecules and one of the components in the block copolymer.

"This opens a wide range of possibilities," said Argonne chemist Jeff Elam, who helped create the process. "You can imagine applications for solar cells, electronics, filters, catalysts—all sorts of different devices that require nanostructures, but also the functionality of inorganic materials."

The work is published in two studies, "Enhanced polymeric lithography resists via sequential infiltration synthesis" in the Journal of Materials Chemistry and "Enhanced block copolymer lithography using sequential infiltration synthesis" in the Journal of Physical Chemistry C.

"Hopefully, our discovery gives scientists an extra advantage when it comes to creating deeper patterns with higher resolution," Darling said.

Use of the Center for Nanoscale Materials was supported by DOE's Office of Science. This work was also supported in part by the Argonne-Northwestern Solar Energy Research Center, a DOE Office of Science-funded Energy Frontier Research Center.

The Center for Nanoscale Materials at Argonne National Laboratory is one of the five DOE Nanoscale Science Research Centers (NSRCs), premier national user facilities for interdisciplinary research at the nanoscale, supported by the DOE Office of Science. Together the NSRCs comprise a suite of complementary facilities that provide researchers with state-of-the-art capabilities to fabricate, process, characterize and model nanoscale materials, and constitute the largest infrastructure investment of the National Nanotechnology Initiative. The NSRCs are located at DOE's Argonne, Brookhaven, Lawrence Berkeley, Oak Ridge and Sandia and Los Alamos National Laboratories. For more information about the DOE NSRCs, please visit nano.energy.gov.

By Jared Sagoff and Louise Lerner

####

About Argonne National Laboratory
Argonne National Laboratory seeks solutions to pressing national problems in science and technology. The nation's first national laboratory, Argonne conducts leading-edge basic and applied scientific research in virtually every scientific discipline. Argonne researchers work closely with researchers from hundreds of companies, universities, and federal, state and municipal agencies to help them solve their specific problems, advance America's scientific leadership and prepare the nation for a better future. With employees from more than 60 nations, Argonne is managed by UChicago Argonne, LLC for the U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Science.

For more information, please click here

Contacts:
Louise Lerner
630/252-5526

Copyright © Argonne National Laboratory

If you have a comment, please Contact us.

Issuers of news releases, not 7th Wave, Inc. or Nanotechnology Now, are solely responsible for the accuracy of the content.

Bookmark:
Delicious Digg Newsvine Google Yahoo Reddit Magnoliacom Furl Facebook

Related Links

Follow Argonne on Twitter at:

Related News Press

News and information

Argon is not the 'dope' for metallic hydrogen March 24th, 2017

Promising results obtained with a new electrocatalyst that reduces the need for platinum: Researchers from Aalto University have succeeded in manufacturing electrocatalysts used for storing electric energy with one-hundredth of the amount of platinum that is usually needed March 24th, 2017

Leti Presents Advances in Propagation Modeling and Antenna Design for mmWave Spectrum: Paper Is One of 15 that Leti Presented at European Conference on Antennas and Propagation March 19-24 March 23rd, 2017

Rice U. refines filters for greener natural gas: New study defines best materials for carbon capture, methane selectivity March 23rd, 2017

Laboratories

Researchers develop groundbreaking process for creating ultra-selective separation membranes: Discovery could greatly improve energy-efficiency of separation and purification processes in the chemical and petrochemical industries March 15th, 2017

Discovery in new material raises questions about theoretical models of superconductivity March 13th, 2017

Perovskite edges can be tuned for optoelectronic performance: Layered 2D material improves efficiency for solar cells and LEDs March 10th, 2017

Imaging the inner workings of a sodium-metal sulfide battery for first time: Understanding how the structural and chemical makeup of the material changes during the charge/discharge process could help scientists advance battery design for future energy storage needs March 9th, 2017

Govt.-Legislation/Regulation/Funding/Policy

Argon is not the 'dope' for metallic hydrogen March 24th, 2017

Nanobiotix: The Independent Data Monitoring Committee Recommends the Continuation of the Ongoing Phase II/III Trial of NBTXR3 in Soft Tissue Sarcoma March 23rd, 2017

Rice U. refines filters for greener natural gas: New study defines best materials for carbon capture, methane selectivity March 23rd, 2017

Artificial photosynthesis steps into the light: Rice University lab turns transition metals into practical catalyst for solar, other applications March 23rd, 2017

Chip Technology

Argon is not the 'dope' for metallic hydrogen March 24th, 2017

Scientists discover new 'boat' form of promising semiconductor: GeSe Uncommon form attenuates semiconductor's band gap size March 23rd, 2017

Pulverizing e-waste is green, clean -- and cold: Rice, Indian Institute researchers use cryo-mill to turn circuit boards into separated powders March 21st, 2017

Electro-optical switch transmits data at record-low temperatures: Operating at temperatures near absolute zero, switch could enable significantly faster data processing with lower power consumption March 20th, 2017

Discoveries

Argon is not the 'dope' for metallic hydrogen March 24th, 2017

Promising results obtained with a new electrocatalyst that reduces the need for platinum: Researchers from Aalto University have succeeded in manufacturing electrocatalysts used for storing electric energy with one-hundredth of the amount of platinum that is usually needed March 24th, 2017

Rice U. refines filters for greener natural gas: New study defines best materials for carbon capture, methane selectivity March 23rd, 2017

Artificial photosynthesis steps into the light: Rice University lab turns transition metals into practical catalyst for solar, other applications March 23rd, 2017

Announcements

Argon is not the 'dope' for metallic hydrogen March 24th, 2017

Promising results obtained with a new electrocatalyst that reduces the need for platinum: Researchers from Aalto University have succeeded in manufacturing electrocatalysts used for storing electric energy with one-hundredth of the amount of platinum that is usually needed March 24th, 2017

Rice U. refines filters for greener natural gas: New study defines best materials for carbon capture, methane selectivity March 23rd, 2017

Artificial photosynthesis steps into the light: Rice University lab turns transition metals into practical catalyst for solar, other applications March 23rd, 2017

Printing/Lithography/Inkjet/Inks/Bio-printing

Liquid metal nano printing set to revolutionize electronics: Creating integrated circuits just atoms thick February 18th, 2017

New stem cell technique shows promise for bone repair January 25th, 2017

NUS researchers achieve major breakthrough in flexible electronics: New classes of printable electrically conducting polymer materials make better electrodes for plastic electronics and advanced semiconductor devices January 14th, 2017

Nanowire 'inks' enable paper-based printable electronics: Highly conductive films make functional circuits without adding high heat January 4th, 2017

NanoNews-Digest
The latest news from around the world, FREE



  Premium Products
NanoNews-Custom
Only the news you want to read!
 Learn More
NanoTech-Transfer
University Technology Transfer & Patents
 Learn More
NanoStrategies
Full-service, expert consulting
 Learn More











ASP
Nanotechnology Now Featured Books




NNN

The Hunger Project