Nanotechnology is perhaps THE cutting edge technology of the 21st century. However, production of nano particles of all types remain fairly expensive compared to more conventional ways of using the same materials.
However thanks to IBM researchers, the status quo could be about to change for the technique of nano patterning.
IBM scientists have developed a new technique that uses a nano scale tip, that when forced to a surface and heated sufficiently is able to carve away substrate material from the surface to create 2D and 3D patterns and structures as small as 15 nanometres at greatly reduced cost and complexity.
Click on the images bellow for a thorough explanation and access to higher resolution pictures.
Image courtesy of Advanced Materials
The above picture is a demonstration of how the technology works. The hot needle is delivered to the surface where substrate is be removed, leaving subtrate material behind where the needle is not delivered.
Bellow is a micrograph or micro photograph of the real needle.
Image courtesy of IBM Research - Zurich
It is expected the new patterning technique creates prospects for developing nano sized objects in fields such as electronics, future chip technology, medicine, life sciences, and opto-electronics.
In demonstrating the new device, IBM scientists had a bit of fun and created the following images.
Courtesy of Advanced Materials
This world map measures 22 nanometers (22 billionths of a metre) wide (east to west) and 11 nanometre high (north to south). It consists of 500,000 pixels, each measuring 20 nanometers squared and you could fit 11 world maps around the circumference of the average human hair.
Image courtesy of Science/AAASImage
To create this near replica of Matterhorn peak, 120 individual layers of molecular glass were removed. The entire piece measures 25 nanometres in height: each nanometre represents 57 metres of altitude.
The complete gallery has many other nano pictures as well as photos of the equipment that powers this new technology.