Lithography is the transfer of a pattern from a master slide/plate/mask to another medium. Today optical lithography, the process of passing light through a mask to pattern a polymer film, is critical for the mass production of integrated circuits. However, the lithography of the future needs to be reinvented because the next generation of electrical devices, data storage drives, sensors, drug delivery systems and labour saving gadgets will be made from nanoscale components. This means that future devices need to be made from components that are only of a few billionths of a metre across, are perfectly reproducible and are manufactured in enormous numbers. Researchers at the LCN are developing various techniques for performing ‘nanolithography’ using focused beams of either electrons, ions or photons as well as using scanning probe microscopes to chemically, physically or thermally modify surface layers of material with nanoscale precision. As well as advancing future technology, our researchers are discovering new science through the fabrication of novel materials and structures using nanolithography.
Research Poster PDFs
Tools for Bionanotechnology
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Figure: Cross section through the crystalline density of a Si wire carved into a Silicon-on-Insulator (SOI) substrate; the original dimensions were 1200nm across by 600nm deep, but Reactive Ion Etching has reduced the structure to 500x500nm with characteristic undercut side walls. [courtesy Ian Robinson]