Nano Science and Technology Institute

Raith's e_LiNE Breaks Nano Research Barriers — Allows Scientists To Fabricate, Relocate, Test and Modify Devices With One Instrument

As nanotechology research dives deeper into extremely small-scale dimensions of 50 nanometers and below, a new set of challenges face engineers and scientists: Most instruments just don't provide the level of control and precision needed to relocate, measure, and modify such small particles work. Raith "Nano-engineering Workbench" dubbed the e_LiNE (for electron Lithography Nano Engineering) allows researchers the ability to create, see, find, characterize, test and modify their nano-structures, in-situ, all on the same platform.
As nanotechnology research dives deeper into extremely small-scale dimensions of 50 nanometers and below, a new set of challenges face engineers and scientists.

When working with structures and devices at this scale, researchers say most instruments will not provide the level of control and precision needed to, relocate, measure, and modify their work.

”There is a growing need in nanoscience for instruments that provide new combinations of imaging, properties measurement, and sample manipulation capabilities,” said a report from the Oak Ridge National Lab. “Such instruments are available at only a few places in the world, and usually as ‘beta-instruments’ that are not generally accessible to users.”

Raith, a long-time provider of engineering tools to the nanotech sector, is addressing this need by providing a commercially available ”Nano-engineering Workbench” dubbed the e_LiNE (for electron Lithography Nano Engineering). The e_LiNE that allows researchers the ability to create, see, find, characterize, test and modify their nano-structures, in –situ, all on the same platform.

Raith’s e_LiNE supports these crucial nano-engineering tasks through a leading edge, all-in-one workbench design. Among e_Line’s integrated components are:

  • Nano-scale fabrication by electron beam lithography
  • Accurate navigation and easy relocation by laser-interferometer stage
  • Ultra-high resolution, electron-beam imaging
  • Integrated gas injectors for beam-induced deposition and etching
  • Precise, electron-beam metrology to measure critical dimensions
  • Characterization by integrated X-ray analyzer other analytical detectors
  • Electrical testing and sample manipulation by integrated mechanical nano-probes

“We feel the e_LiNE is breaking through some of the critical barriers in nanotechnology research,” said George Lanzarotta, president of RaithUSA. “The tools researchers need for this intricate work are just emerging on the commercial market now,”

While the e_LiNE integrates several research tools, its design is not simply for better automation or faster speed, Lanzarotta said. e_LiNE is aimed at something much higher. “Its all about breaking barriers and helping researchers perform tasks that were not possible before,” Lanzarotta said.

Not long ago, our customers were happy that we could bring them into the 100-50 nanometer range. They are continuously pushing for smaller and smaller, and now we are at the 30-20 nanometer range. But arriving at that scale, new challenges arise for our customers: These structures are now so small, they cannot interface with the macro world and are very difficult to test and characterize. We address this problem by giving researchers the tools they need in an integrated platform, so they can perform all these tasks from within one system.

How e_LiNE Can Change Nano-Research Practices

The e_LiNE was conceived and designed by Raith, in close collaboration with the nano-research community, Lanzarotta said. As a result, he expects the e_LiNE to be a key to breaking barriers for many nano-research disciplines, including materials research, chemistry and biotechnology.

Lanzarotta offers an example: “Let’s say you want to modify a device and make electrical contact to an individual component that is so small, there is no practical way to connect without the danger of destroying, contaminating or losing it completely. At 30 nanometers, these structures can be very difficult, if not impossible, to relocate once they’re moved from one instrument to another. With e_LiNE, you can make these small contacts in the same system the device was created in, without having to remove it from the vacuum chamber, or the field of view.”

“Right now, we are talking with university and government researchers in a number of different small-scale fields, including Quantum physics, nano-electronics, nano-magnetism, and they are working on a wide variety of projects, such as photonic crystals, carbon nanotubes, quantum dots, and molecular electronics.

Lanzarotta gave an example of how e_LiNE would be useful to quantum dot arrays as sizes go below 30 nanometers. “In quantum dot arrays, researchers today typically want these dots to be somewhere around the 30-20 nanometer range -- very small. Researchers can [build] those structures today without the e_LiNE, but they cannot easily contact an individual dot, or analyze its composition. They would have to move it to another machine to complete this work. “

Lanzarotta noted that researchers are now utilizing e-beam induced deposition, (EBID) where gases are introduced over a sample and an electron-beam is used to directly deposit materials wherever the beam is directed. The gas decomposes, leaving behind the desired elements on the sample. By introducing different “precursor” gases, patterned sample etching is also possible with this technique.

“The e_LiNE is designed to enable the researchers who use EBID to build these nano brides and connections, and also analyze exactly what the structures are made of, without fear of contaminating the sample, and also to precisely modify the device in an iterative manner to achieve the desired results,” Lanzarotta. Several e_LiNE systems have been delivered and installation of the first unit in the United States is underway at the University of Illinois (Chicago).

For more information, and detailed specifications, contact Raith USA at e-beam@raithusa.com. RSS feed of Nano World News

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