Writing at the nanoscale
"Our new 'writing' method opens up many new possibilities for creating nanoscale patterns and features on surfaces. This may have a significant impact on developing nanotechnologies that involve nanopatterning, such as molecular electronics -- tiny circuits built using single organic molecules," said Brookhaven Lab physicist Yuguang Cai.
Cai and his colleagues call the technique "Electro Pen Nanolithography" (EPN). They sweep a very thin metal tip across a film of organic molecules. The tip carries an electric voltage, which causes the region under it to "oxidize," or undergo a reaction that changes the chemical makeup of the film. In a single sweep of the pen, organic "ink" molecules are transferred from the tip to the oxidized regions, creating an extremely thin line.
|Physicists Benjamin Ocko (L) and Yuguang Cai. (Photo: BNL)|
With further research, EPN may have the ability to "write" biomolecular materials, such as proteins, onto surfaces. These nanoscale protein deposits might, for example, serve as biosensors.
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