Agilent Technologies and Stanford University are working on a research program designed to explore a new class of nanoscale devices using a combinations of the scanning probe microscope (SPM) and atomic layer deposition (ALD). The research will enable the rapid prototyping and characterization of nanoscale devices with breakthroughs in sub 10 nm scale for a wide range of applications. The work between Agilent and Stanford University is part of Agilent’s University Relations Program, which facilitates collaborations with universities around the world.
The research program focuses on the integration of ALD, a thin-film technique capable of sub-nanometer precision in thickness, with the nanometer lateral resolution SPM in a drive to extend the capability of scanning probe techniques to prototyping and device fabrication. Historically, performance of electronic devices has been limited by traditional manufacturing methods, such as optical and electron beam lithography, which are not likely to deliver feature resolution significantly below 20 nm. However, the quantum mechanical effects of electron confinement in devices 10 nm or smaller result in phenomena qualitatively different than those seen in larger devices. Taking advantage of this quantum confinement is predicted to result in a new paradigm for electronic devices.
The nanostructures will be fabricated and characterized in-situ in a SPM-ALD tool in order to rapidly prototype a wide variety of next-generation devices. The SPM-ALD tool will enable Agilent and Stanford to build devices which take advantage of the quantum confinement effects present at small length scales, length scales that could not be accessed with traditional lithography methods. The devices can only be built with manufacturing tools possessing extraordinary spatial resolution.