Suwon, South Korea, Feb. 14, 2011
The XE-150 atomic force microscope from Park Systems was featured in a recent Nature article, entitled “Hard-tip, Soft-spring, Lithography.” Nature is a premier publication that disseminates recent scientific advancements from across the disciplines.
As described in the article, researchers at Northwestern University’s International Institute for Nanotechnology, headed by Professor Chad A. Mirkin, have developed a new technique for printing nanoscale structures cheaply, quickly, and in large batches. The process, called Hard-tip, Soft-spring Lithography (HSL), combines the high resolution of scanning-probe nanolithography with the low cost and high throughput of contact printing methods.
In the HSL technique, an array of hard silicon tips set atop a cushioning polymer layer is used as a cheap, disposable “print head,” impressing thousands of identical bitmap images into an elastomeric substrate. Mirkin developed the technology with a Park Systems XE-150 atomic force microscope equipped with a unique tilting stage and an environmental chamber for humidity control.
In an exercise to demonstrate the high resolution and throughput of the method, an HSL-enabled XE-150 successfully duplicated 19,000 miniaturized images of the iconic pyramid on the reverse of the USD $1 note at a pixel density of 855 million dots per square inch. Each individual image of the pyramid consists of 6,982 dots.
According to Mirkin, “Hard-tip, soft-spring lithography is to scanning-probe lithography what the disposable razor is to the razor industry. This is a major step forward in the realization of desktop fabrication that will allow researchers in academia and industry to create and study nanostructure prototypes on the fly.”
Added Dr. Young-Kook (Ryan) Yoo, VP of Global Sales and Marketing at Park Systems, “Developing a potential hard-tip, soft-spring lithography method is great news to Park Systems, the users of our high-performance XE technologies, and the wider lithography-imaging community, offering enhanced potential to interrogate nanoscale environments with accuracy, sensitivity and functionality.” He noted that HSL could be used to develop new approaches to medical diagnostics, pharmaceutical development, printable circuits, and other emerging nanoscale technologies.
(Click here to see the Nature’s article)