Direct Pattern Writing by Local Heating in a Scanning Tunneling Microscope
Original Publication Date: 1986-Nov-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-Mar-09
The scanning tunneling microscope (STM) is known to achieve extremely high spatial resolution - with the ability to observe individual atoms. To date, its application has been limited mainly to atomic-scale structural observations of surfaces. Disclosed here is a new application which achieves two important goals. First, it exploits the intrinsically high spatial resolution of the STM to write nanostructure patterns in the size regime of N 100 ˜, or possibly below. Second, it writes these patterns directly onto the surface, rather than having to write into resist and then develop resist; this brings the advantage that resist processes need not also be constructed along with the new level of lithographic exposure as well. The present scheme exploits local heating by the STM tip to achieve material modification.