29 Apr '14, 6am
PORTLAND, Ore. — IBM Research in Zurich today unveiled a microscopic 3D printer capable of writing nanometer resolution patterns into a soft polymer, which can subsequently be transferred to silicon, III-V (gallium arsenide -- GaAs), or graphene substrates. Unlike electron-beam (e-beam) lithography, the patterns can be both written and read for verification in real-time while the engineer watches under a microscope. "The big difference when compared to e-beam is that you can easily write 3D patterns, which is extremely challenging for e-beams," Colin Rawlings, a scientist at IBM Research told EE Times. "The other big difference is its imaging capability -- we can read as well as write. After creating a 3D pattern we then turn off the heat to the tip and use it like an AFM [atomic force microscope] to measure with sub-nanometer resolution -- allowing us to verify our 3D pat...