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IBM Creates 1:5 Billion Scale Model of the Matterhorn

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nanoscale silicon tip

IBM scientists have demonstrated a new technique that uses a nanoscale tip (shown in the photo) to create 2-D and 3-D patterns and structures as small as 15 nanometers at greatly reduced cost and complexity.

Credit: IBM Research - Zurich

IBM researchers have demonstrated a patterning technique capable of creating structures as small as 15 nanometers, and say the technology is a simpler and less expensive way to make nanostructures in semiconductors and other components. The demonstration consisted of two three-dimensional patterns created using the technology—a 1:5 billion scale replica of Switzerland's Matterhorn mountain that is less than 25 nanometers tall and a relief map of the world measuring 22 micrometers by 11 micrometers.

The patterning technique uses a silicon needle measuring 100 nanometers across at the base and tapering to a width of a few nanometers at the tip. Through a combination of heat and force, the needle is used to remove substrate material based on a predefined pattern.

The technology has the potential to go even smaller, according to IBM, and produces structures at a cost 80 percent to 90 percent lower than the cost of using electron-beam lithography.

View a video about the researchers and the technology behind the world's smallest 3-D map.

From Computerworld
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Abstracts Copyright © 2010 Information Inc., Bethesda, Maryland, USA


Adrian Miller

Thanks for the interest! If you're interested in knowing more about the science behind this story, we've set the original research paper free to access for the next few weeks; you can find it here:

Adrian Miller
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