Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors

Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button

Home > Press > Scientists Set Record Resolution for Drawing at the One-Nanometer Length Scale: An electron microscope-based lithography system for patterning materials at sizes as small as a single nanometer could be used to create and study materials with new properties

A schematic showing a focused electron beam (green) shining through a polymeric film (grey: carbon atoms; red: oxygen atoms; white: hydrogen atoms). The glowing area (yellow) indicates the molecular volume chemically modified by the focused electron beam.
A schematic showing a focused electron beam (green) shining through a polymeric film (grey: carbon atoms; red: oxygen atoms; white: hydrogen atoms). The glowing area (yellow) indicates the molecular volume chemically modified by the focused electron beam.

Abstract:
The ability to pattern materials at ever-smaller sizes-using electron-beam lithography (EBL), in which an electron-sensitive material is exposed to a focused beam of electrons, as a primary method-is driving advances in nanotechnology. When the feature size of materials is reduced from the macroscale to the nanoscale, individual atoms and molecules can be manipulated to dramatically alter material properties, such as color, chemical reactivity, electrical conductivity, and light interactions.

Scientists Set Record Resolution for Drawing at the One-Nanometer Length Scale: An electron microscope-based lithography system for patterning materials at sizes as small as a single nanometer could be used to create and study materials with new properties

Upton, NY | Posted on May 1st, 2017

In the ongoing quest to pattern materials with ever-smaller feature sizes, scientists at the Center for Functional Nanomaterials [https://www.bnl.gov/cfn/] (CFN)-a U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Science User Facility at Brookhaven National Laboratory-have recently set a new record. Performing EBL with a scanning transmission electron microscope (STEM), they have patterned thin films of the polymer poly(methyl methacrylate), or PMMA, with individual features as small as one nanometer (nm), and with a spacing between features of 11 nm, yielding an areal density of nearly one trillion features per square centimeter. These record achievements are published in the April 18 online edition of Nano Letters.

"Our goal at CFN is to study how the optical, electrical, thermal, and other properties of materials change as their feature sizes get smaller," said lead author Vitor Manfrinato, a research associate in CFN's electron microscopy group [https://www.bnl.gov/cfn/research/microscopy.php] who began the project as a CFN user while completing his doctoral work at MIT. "Until now, patterning materials at a single nanometer has not been possible in a controllable and efficient way."

Commercial EBL instruments typically pattern materials at sizes between 10 and 20 nanometers. Techniques that can produce higher-resolution patterns require special conditions that either limit their practical utility or dramatically slow down the patterning process. Here, the scientists pushed the resolution limits of EBL by installing a pattern generator-an electronic system that precisely moves the electron beam over a sample to draw patterns designed with computer software-in one of CFN's aberration-corrected STEMs, a specialized microscope that provides a focused electron beam at the atomic scale.

"We converted an imaging tool into a drawing tool that is capable of not only taking atomic-resolution images but also making atomic-resolution structures," said coauthor Aaron Stein, a senior scientist in the electronic nanomaterials group [https://www.bnl.gov/cfn/research/electronic.php] at CFN.

Their measurements with this instrument show a nearly 200 percent reduction in feature size (from 5 to 1.7 nm) and 100 percent increase in areal pattern density (from 0.4 to 0.8 trillion dots per square centimeter, or from 16 to 11 nm spacing between features) over previous scientific reports.

The team's patterned PMMA films can be used as stencils for transferring the drawn single-digit nanometer feature into any other material. In this work, the scientists created structures smaller than 5 nm in both metallic (gold palladium) and semiconducting (zinc oxide) materials. Their fabricated gold palladium features were as small as six atoms wide.

Despite this record-setting demonstration, the team remains interested in understanding the factors that still limit resolution, and ultimately pushing EBL to its fundamental limit.

"The resolution of EBL can be impacted by many parameters, including instrument limitations, interactions between the electron beam and the polymer material, molecular dimensions associated with the polymer structure, and chemical processes of lithography," explained Manfrinato.

An exciting result of this study was the realization that polymer films can be patterned at sizes much smaller than the 26 nm effective radius of the PMMA macromolecule. "The polymer chains that make up a PMMA macromolecule are a million repeating monomers (molecules) long-in a film, these macromolecules are all entangled and balled up," said Stein. "We were surprised to find that the smallest size we could pattern is well below the size of the macromolecule and nears the size of one of the monomer repeating units, as small as a single nanometer."

Next, the team plans to use their technique to study the properties of materials patterned at one-nanometer dimensions. One early target will be the semiconducting material silicon, whose electronic and optical properties are predicted to change at the single-digit nanometer scale.

"This technique opens up many exciting materials engineering possibilities, tailoring properties if not atom by atom, then closer than ever before," said Stein. "Because the CFN is a national user facility, we will soon be offering our first-of-a-kind nanoscience tool to users from around the world. It will be really interesting to see how other scientists make use of this new capability."

This work is supported by DOE's Office of Science.

####

About Brookhaven National Laboratory
Brookhaven National Laboratory is supported by the Office of Science of the U.S. Department of Energy. The Office of Science is the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States, and is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time. For more information, please visit science.energy.gov .

For more information, please click here

Contacts:
Ariana Tantillo
(631) 344-2347

or
Peter Genzer
(631) 344-3174

Copyright © Brookhaven 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 News Press

Imaging

Biophysics -- lighting up DNA-based nanostructures April 25th, 2018

JPK reports on research of the Mestroni Lab at the University of Colorado Denver which use the JPK NanoWizardŽ AFM to help in the characterization of cardiomyopathies April 24th, 2018

Thermo Scientific Krios G3i Cryo-Electron Microscope Wins Gold Edison Award: Krios G3i helps scientists better understand disease mechanisms in order to accelerate cures April 12th, 2018

News and information

Biophysics -- lighting up DNA-based nanostructures April 25th, 2018

Getting electrons to move in a semiconductor: Gallium oxide shows high electron mobility, making it promising for better and cheaper devices April 24th, 2018

JPK reports on research of the Mestroni Lab at the University of Colorado Denver which use the JPK NanoWizardŽ AFM to help in the characterization of cardiomyopathies April 24th, 2018

Laboratories

Psst! A whispering gallery for light boosts solar cells April 14th, 2018

Artificial intelligence accelerates discovery of metallic glass: Machine learning algorithms pinpoint new materials 200 times faster than previously possible April 13th, 2018

Doing the nano-shimmy: New device modulates light and amplifies tiny signals April 12th, 2018

Govt.-Legislation/Regulation/Funding/Policy

Organic solar cells reach record efficiency, benchmark for commercialization April 23rd, 2018

Remote-control shoots laser at nano-gold to turn on cancer-killing immune cells April 20th, 2018

Salt boosts creation of 2-D materials: Rice University scientists show how salt lowers reaction temperatures to make novel materials April 18th, 2018

Quantum shift shows itself in coupled light and matter: Rice University scientists corral, quantify subtle movement in condensed matter system April 16th, 2018

Discoveries

Biophysics -- lighting up DNA-based nanostructures April 25th, 2018

Getting electrons to move in a semiconductor: Gallium oxide shows high electron mobility, making it promising for better and cheaper devices April 24th, 2018

JPK reports on research of the Mestroni Lab at the University of Colorado Denver which use the JPK NanoWizardŽ AFM to help in the characterization of cardiomyopathies April 24th, 2018

Organic solar cells reach record efficiency, benchmark for commercialization April 23rd, 2018

Announcements

Biophysics -- lighting up DNA-based nanostructures April 25th, 2018

Getting electrons to move in a semiconductor: Gallium oxide shows high electron mobility, making it promising for better and cheaper devices April 24th, 2018

JPK reports on research of the Mestroni Lab at the University of Colorado Denver which use the JPK NanoWizardŽ AFM to help in the characterization of cardiomyopathies April 24th, 2018

Organic solar cells reach record efficiency, benchmark for commercialization April 23rd, 2018

Tools

Biophysics -- lighting up DNA-based nanostructures April 25th, 2018

JPK reports on research of the Mestroni Lab at the University of Colorado Denver which use the JPK NanoWizardŽ AFM to help in the characterization of cardiomyopathies April 24th, 2018

Observing biological nanotransporters: Chemistry April 19th, 2018

Grand Opening of UC Irvine Materials Research Institute (IMRI) to Spotlight JEOL Center for Nanoscale Solutions: Renowned Materials Scientists to Present at the 1st International Symposium on Advanced Microscopy and Spectroscopy (ISAMS) April 18th, 2018

Grants/Sponsored Research/Awards/Scholarships/Gifts/Contests/Honors/Records

Getting electrons to move in a semiconductor: Gallium oxide shows high electron mobility, making it promising for better and cheaper devices April 24th, 2018

Remote-control shoots laser at nano-gold to turn on cancer-killing immune cells April 20th, 2018

Lifeboat Foundation funds flying 3D-printed classroom cubesats with Perlan II April 16th, 2018

Thermo Scientific Krios G3i Cryo-Electron Microscope Wins Gold Edison Award: Krios G3i helps scientists better understand disease mechanisms in order to accelerate cures April 12th, 2018

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



  Premium Products
NanoNews-Custom
Only the news you want to read!
 Learn More
NanoStrategies
Full-service, expert consulting
 Learn More











ASP
Nanotechnology Now Featured Books




NNN

The Hunger Project