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MIT: New method could lead to narrower chip patterns
Date:4/10/2009

emistry and Hsin-Yu Tsai in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, and is reported in a paper published in the April 10 issue of Science.

Remarkably, the new technique, which the researchers call absorbance modulation, makes it possible to create lines that are only about one-tenth as wide as the wavelength of light used to create them. Part of the trick was to find a suitable photochromic material whose clear and opaque parts would remain stable after the initial exposure to light.

Using this method, the team produced lines just 36 nanometers wide, and say they could also place many such lines spaced a similar distance apart.

Such a technique could "could have a significant impact on chip making," Menon says, and could also help to enable new work in a variety of emerging fields that rely on nano-scale patterning, including nanophotonics, nanofluidics, nanoelectronics, and nano-biological systems.

Already, a company has been formed to develop this technology, and Menon says he expects it to lead to commercial production within five years.

But that's not the only potential application of the approach. Menon says his team is pursuing possible use of the same system for imaging systems, which could enable new kinds of microscopes for observing at nanoscale resolution, with possible applications in biology and in materials science. At the same time, he is pursuing ways of using the technique to create even smaller patterns, down to the scale of individual molecules.


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Contact: Elizabeth Thomson
thomson@mit.edu
617-258-5402
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Source:Eurekalert

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