Nano Bugle

A window into applied science supported by INL

Reducing lithography nanopatterns to 6 nanometers in size

Vadim Sidorkin, a researcher from TU Delft in Netherlands, is the first in the world to succeed in patterning a substrate with markings only 6 nanometres in size and only 14 nanometres apart.

The spacing of 14 nanometers that Sidorkin achieved could increase the data storage capacity of memory chips by a factor ten.

Sidorkin researched into creating the smallest possible structures using electron beams and ion beams. At the present time the industry generally uses light beams to etch extremely small structures onto semiconductor material, for instance in the manufacture of computer chips. Sidorkin used a Helium Ion Microscope (HIM) to create helium beams, and using this technique he was able to draw dots having a diameter of only six nanometres.

Sidorkin compared the performance of the helium ion beam with an electron beam, and found that using helium ions made it possible to etch structures much closer together. Since helium ions are larger and heavier than electrons, they can be fired at the substrate surface with less speed and still deliver the same collision energy. As the result helium ions also do much less damage to the surrounding material, because they rebound less far off the surface and penetrate sideways less far into the structure itself.

July 16, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The Accidental Art of Microfluidic Devices


A Flikr group called “Art on a Chip” shows an artistic side to a hot area of technology: microfluidics devices. In the group a vibrant collection of images shows cells, channels and fluids on the micro scale. Researchers are encouraged to upload a favorite picture captured through their research, says the curator of the online collection, Albert Folch, an associate professor in BioMEMs and Microfluidics at the University of Washington.

“Our fields of research are bursting with art,” Folch says in his introduction to the website. “I am willing to bet that your hard drive contains at least one gorgeous image that will make me catch my breath.” 

Many of the images come from Folch’s own collection, and the gallery is a repository for happy accidents. “A lot of times we make mistakes in research that are prettier than the ones we end up publishing,” Folch says. 

Microfluidics devices consist of a combination of tiny channels that interface with microelectronics. They have a range of potential applications, including hand-held contraptions that can quickly detect diseases, and are a hot topic of recent research. 

Folch was at µTAS, a microfluidics meeting in San Diego in 2008, when he entered the meeting’s open picture competition with an image from one of his papers. He didn’t win, but was captivated by the beauty of entries from fellow participants. He brought the idea back to Lab on a Chip, where he now serves as Art Editor. Folch announced the gallery’s opening on its Flikr Web site on June 24, 2010, and enthusiastically awaits contributions. 

“Microfluidics Butterfly” (above) was created by arranging two mirror images of a micromixer–a device that controls the path of fluid flow–next to each other, and then superimposing them on a blue background.

You can read the full article here.

Credit: Lab on a Chip/ Greg Cooksey and Albert Folch

July 14, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

TNT2010 – Trends in Nanotechnology debated in Braga – INL

The 11th edition of the Trends in Nanotechnology International Conference (TNT2010) is been launched following the overwhelming success of earlier Nanotechnology Conferences. The TNT2010 edition (September 06-10, 2010) will take place in Braga (Portugal) to emphasise the importance at the Portuguese and European level of the Nanoscience and Nanotechnology activity of the Northern Portugal region and in particular the launch in 2010 of the International Iberian Nanotechnology Laboratory.
This high-level scientific meeting series aims to present a broad range of current research in Nanoscience and Nanotechnology as well as related policies (European Commission, etc.) or other kind of initiatives (nanoGUNE, FinNano, GDR-I, etc.). TNT events have demonstrated that they are particularly effective in transmitting information and establishing contacts among workers in this field.
The TNT2010 structure will keep the fundamental features of the previous editions, providing a unique opportunity for broad interaction.

July 12, 2010 Posted by | Events | Leave a comment