Georgia Tech Researches Develop Nanofabrication Technique To Make Processing 5000 Times Faster
All the various permutations of electron beam induced processing have provided fairly effective nanofabrication techniques for either etching or depositing material. As important as these processes have been for nanofabrication, there has been one big problem with them: they don’t lend themselves to being scaled up. That will, however, change now as researchers at Georgia Tech have developed a technique using a liquid precursor that increases fabrication speed up to 5000 times than previously possible.
In the past, the fabrication methods involved using the electron beam on a surface while inside a vacuum chamber as a precursor gas is introduced into the chamber. Gas molecules are adsorbed on to the substrate and the electron beam breaks them into volatile and non-volatile components.
Depending on the gas, either the non-volatile components stick to the surface and form a deposit, or the volatile components react with the surface and carve out an etching.
In this new development, the researchers used a liquid precursor containing metal ions instead of a gas. The metal ions produce a high-purity metal after coming into contact with the electron beam.
“By allowing us to grow structures much faster with a broad range of precursors, this technique really opens up a whole new direction for making a hierarchy of complex three-dimensional structures with nanoscale resolution at the rate that is demanded for manufacturing scalability,” said Andrei Fedorov, a professor at Georgia Tech, in a press release.
While demonstrating this new technique, the researchers were able to fabricate carbon nanopillars five micrometers tall alongside other nano structures and arches to create sort of a suspended bridge to link the nanopillars. The time required varied from structure to structure but was between 2 to 40 seconds.