A University of Colorado at Boulder team has developed a new method of shrinking the size of circuitry used in nanotechnology devices like computer chips and solar cells by using two separate colors of light.
Like current methods in the nanoengineering field, one color of light inscribes a pattern on a substrate, said CU-Boulder Assistant Professor Robert McLeod of the electrical, computer and energy engineering department. But the new system developed by McLeod's team uses a second color to "erase" the edges of the pattern, resulting in much smaller structures.
The team used tightly focused beams of blue light to record lines and dots thousands of times smaller than the width of a human hair into patterned lithography on a substrate, said McLeod. The researchers then "chopped off the edges" of the lines using a halo of ultraviolet light, trimming the width of the lines significantly.
"We are essentially drawing a line with a marker on a nanotechnology scale and then erasing its edges," said McLeod. The method offers potential new approaches in the search for ways to shrink transistor circuitry, a process that drives the global electronic market that is pursuing smaller, more powerful microchips, said McLeod.
A paper on the subject was published in the April 10 issue of Science Express, the online version of Science magazine. CU-Boulder co-authors included Timothy Scott and Christopher Bowman of the chemical and biological engineering department and graduate students Benjamin Kowalski and Amy Sullivan of the electrical, computer and energy engineering department. Sullivan is now a professor at Agnes Scott College in Decatur, Ga.
For the project, McLeod and his team used a tabletop laser to project tightly focused beams of visible blue light onto liquid molecules known as monomers. A chemical reaction initiated a bonding of the monomers into a plastic-like polymer solid, he said. If the beam was f
|Contact: Robert McLeod|
University of Colorado at Boulder