Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Penn Researchers Create The First Reliable Method For Making Gaps For Nanotech Apps

Date:
March 13, 2006
Source:
University of Pennsylvania
Summary:
One small gap for a silicon wafer might mean an enormous leap for nanoelectronics, according to Penn physicists. They are the first to create a simple, reliable and observable method of creating tiny, tiny gaps between electrodes.

Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania have announced that they have bridged a major obstruction in the creation of nanoscale electronics by developing a simple, reliable and observable method of creating tiny, tiny gaps between electrodes.

Such "nanogaps" will make it possible to make electrical contact to structures on the nanoscale billionths of a meter. In a recent edition of the journal Applied Physics Letters, online now, physicists Marija Drndic and Michael Fischbein describe the creation of nanogaps, which could have applications ranging from ultra ast electronics to quantum computing to high-speed gene reading.

"A number of people have proposed nanoelectronic devices that use nanogaps, but nobody has been able to create nanogaps reliably in practice," said Marija Drndic, an assistant professor in Penn's Department of Physics and Astronomy in the School of Arts and Sciences. "For the first time, we were able to make the world's smallest and cleanest nanometer gaps that can be imaged directly with atomic resolution. These nanogaps can be used to electrically connect small objects, such as an individual molecule."

The ability to hook individual molecules -whether they are the product of nanotechnology or biotechnology -to electronic circuits is the goal of many researchers. Such systems will have applications in medicine, robotics, materials science and even security. In addition, electronics on the nanoscale will be used to create denser, faster storage devices and microprocessor chips.

To create these gaps, Drndic and graduate student Michael Fischbein used electron beam lithography, a common nanotechnology tool that uses electrons to create patterns on a surface. Their research succeeded where previous efforts failed because of the type of surface they used, thin layers of silicon nitride.

"Electon beam lithography works on small scale, but it is limited down to about 10 nanometers." Drndic said. "It is not like drawing a line on a page; as an electron beam hits a material the electrons tend to scatter forward and backward, which makes it difficult to create tiny lines."

While other researchers focused on breaking small wires to create nanogaps, similar to how a fuse can be popped open, the Penn researchers went the opposite route, making the gaps directly.

"Contrary to many expectations, the thin layer of silicon nitride, which we used instead of the usual xide on silicon,helped minimize the amount of electron scattering to the point where we could make clean gaps," Fischbein said.

Just as important, these nanogaps are compatible with high-resolution transmission electron microscopy, or HRTEM. Because nanogaps are created on thin films, it is easy to study the structure through HRTEM and assess their quality.

Already, the researchers have used nanogaps to measure electrical charge through several coupled nanocrystals, which are also referred to as quantum dots. Previous researchers have demonstrated that quantum dots can be manipulated to change their physical properties, particularly their optical properties. In fact, the blue laser, which will soon be put into use in commercial products, was a result of early research in changing the colors of quantum dots.

"Nanogaps allow us to inject charge directly into individual nanocrystals, which may enable us to control their properties on a quantum level," Fischbein said. "It is a small gap, but across it we can bridge classical and quantum physics. This research was funded through grants from the National Science Foundation, the Office of Naval Research and the American Chemical Society.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Pennsylvania. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Pennsylvania. "Penn Researchers Create The First Reliable Method For Making Gaps For Nanotech Apps." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 13 March 2006. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/03/060313183446.htm>.
University of Pennsylvania. (2006, March 13). Penn Researchers Create The First Reliable Method For Making Gaps For Nanotech Apps. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/03/060313183446.htm
University of Pennsylvania. "Penn Researchers Create The First Reliable Method For Making Gaps For Nanotech Apps." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/03/060313183446.htm (accessed April 23, 2014).

Share This



More Matter & Energy News

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Is North Korea Planning Nuclear Test #4?

Is North Korea Planning Nuclear Test #4?

Newsy (Apr. 22, 2014) South Korean officials say North Korea is preparing to conduct another nuclear test, but is Pyongyang just bluffing this time? Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
China Falls for 4x4s at Beijing Auto Show

China Falls for 4x4s at Beijing Auto Show

AFP (Apr. 22, 2014) The urban 4x4 is the latest must-have for Chinese drivers, whose conversion to the cult of the SUV is the talking point of this year's Beijing auto show. Duration: 00:40 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Lytro Introduces 'Illum,' A Professional Light-Field Camera

Lytro Introduces 'Illum,' A Professional Light-Field Camera

Newsy (Apr. 22, 2014) The light-field photography engineers at Lytro unveiled their next innovation: a professional DSLR-like camera called "Illum." Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
3 Reasons Why Harley Davidson Is Selling Tons of Epic Hogs

3 Reasons Why Harley Davidson Is Selling Tons of Epic Hogs

TheStreet (Apr. 22, 2014) Sales of motorcycles have continued to ride back from the depths of hell known as the Great Recession. Excluding scooters, sales of motorcycles increased 3% in 2013. In units, however, at 465,000 sold last year, the total remained about 50% below the peak hit in 2007. Industry leader Harley Davidson’s shareholders have benefited both by the industry recovery and positive headlines emanating from the company. Belus Capital Advisors CEO Brian Sozzi takes you beyond the headlines of the motorcycle maker. Video provided by TheStreet
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins