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Beam Pen Could Hold Key to Optimizing Nanofabrication

Research team at Northwestern University developed the beam pen lithography method

The Northwestern group was able to draw 15,000 identical skylines (see image below) using its novel beam-pen lithography (BPL). The technology offers a low cost, rapid nanofabrication process that can be applied to the manufacturing and prototyping of circuits, optoelectronics and medical diagnostics. Beam-pen lithography could someday become the ‘desktop printer’ for nanofabrication, giving researchers an unequalled amount of control of their work.

The research team is led by Chad Mirkin, Northwestern University Professor of Chemistry and director of the university’s International Institute for Nanotechnology. "Such an instrument would allow researchers at universities and in the electronics industry around the world to rapidly prototype -- and possibly produce -- high-resolution electronic devices and systems right in the lab," Mirkin notes in the press release. "They want to test their patterns immediately, not have to wait for a third-party to produce prototypes, which is what happens now."

Using beam-pen lithography, Northwestern researchers patterned 15,000 replicas of the Chicago skyline simultaneously over square centimeters of space in about half an hour. - Northwestern University

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