Nanometer-scale diamond tips improve nano-manufacturing

Nov 14, 2012
Nanometer-scale diamond tips improve nano-manufacturing
This is a diamond nano-tip integrated onto the micro-heater of a doped silicon microcantilever. The tip has a radius of 10 nm. Credit: William King

(Phys.org)—One of the most promising innovations of nanotechnology has been the ability to perform rapid nanofabrication using nanometer-scale tips. The fabrication speed can be dramatically increased by using heat. High speed and high temperature have been known to degrade the tip… until now.

"Thermal processing is widely used in manufacturing," according to William King, the College of Engineering Bliss Professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. "We have been working to shrink thermal processing to the nanometer scale, where we can use a nanometer-scale to add or remove material, or induce a physical or chemical reaction."

One of the key challenges has been the reliability of the nanometer-scale tips, especially with performing nano-writing on hard, semiconductor surfaces. Now, researchers at the University of Illinois, University of Pennsylvania, and Advanced Diamond Technologies Inc., have created a new type of nano-tip for thermal processing, which is made entirely out of diamond.

"The end of the diamond tip is 10 nm in size," King explained. "Not only can the tip be used for nanometer-scale thermal processing, but it is extremely resistant to wear."

The research findings are reported in the article, "Ultrananocrystalline diamond tip integrated onto a heated ," that appears in in the journal Nanotechnology. The study shows how the 10 nm diamond tip scans in contact with a surface for a distance of more than 1.2 meters, and experiences essentially no wear over that distance.

"The scan distance is equal to 100 million times the size of the tip," said King. "That's the equivalent of a person walking around the circumference of the earth four times, and doing so with no measurable wear."

"The robustness of these diamond-based probes under such and stresses in an oxidizing environment—is quite remarkable and exceeds anything I've seen with other AFM probes," said Robert Carpick, professor of mechanical engineering and applied mechanics at University of Pennsylvania and co-author on the study. "This level of durability combined with the multifunctionality of a thermal probe really opens up new applications for the ."

"We are pleased with the results since they prove once again the superiority of diamond tips to any other types of probe tips when it comes to low wear and resistance to harsh environment," said Nicolaie Moldovan, a scientist at Advanced Diamond Technologies and co-author on the study.

Explore further: Team finds electricity can be generated by dragging saltwater over graphene

More information: Paper: Nanotechnology 23 (2012) 495302. stacks.iop.org/0957-4484/23/495302

Related Stories

Researchers measure nanometer scale temperature

Dec 19, 2011

Illinois researchers have developed a new kind of electro-thermal nanoprobe that can independently control voltage and temperature at a nanometer-scale point contact. It can also measure the temperature-dependent ...

New nanocrystalline diamond probes overcome wear

Nov 10, 2009

Researchers at the McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science at Northwestern University have developed, characterized, and modeled a new kind of probe used in atomic force microscopy (AFM), which images, measures, ...

Diamonds are a probe’s best friend

Mar 01, 2012

Surface imperfections in devices such as gears or levers can have disastrous effects on reliability. Recent studies have demonstrated the usefulness of atomic force microscopes (AFMs) — instruments that use tiny silicon-based ...

Magnetic actuation enables nanoscale thermal analysis

Jan 12, 2012

Polymer nano-films and nano-composites are used in a wide variety of applications from food packaging to sports equipment to automotive and aerospace applications. Thermal analysis is routinely used to analyze ...

Recommended for you

First direct observations of excitons in motion achieved

Apr 16, 2014

A quasiparticle called an exciton—responsible for the transfer of energy within devices such as solar cells, LEDs, and semiconductor circuits—has been understood theoretically for decades. But exciton ...

User comments : 0

More news stories

Thinnest feasible nano-membrane produced

A new nano-membrane made out of the 'super material' graphene is extremely light and breathable. Not only can this open the door to a new generation of functional waterproof clothing, but also to ultra-rapid filtration. The ...

Wiring up carbon-based electronics

Carbon-based nanostructures such as nanotubes, graphene sheets, and nanoribbons are unique building blocks showing versatile nanomechanical and nanoelectronic properties. These materials which are ordered ...

Better thermal-imaging lens from waste sulfur

Sulfur left over from refining fossil fuels can be transformed into cheap, lightweight, plastic lenses for infrared devices, including night-vision goggles, a University of Arizona-led international team ...

Hackathon team's GoogolPlex gives Siri extra powers

(Phys.org) —Four freshmen at the University of Pennsylvania have taken Apple's personal assistant Siri to behave as a graduate-level executive assistant which, when asked, is capable of adjusting the temperature ...