New Tool Speeds Up The Development Of Quantum Devices - New Technology

Computer chips are made by etching microscopic patterns into silicon using light and chemicals in a technique called photo lithography. For even smaller circuits, like those needed for quantum dots and quantum devices, electrons replace the light in a technique known as electron beam lithography. The problem with electron beam lithography is that it is a laboriously slow process.

Teams of researchers from Cambridge University in England and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have modified a scanning tunnelling microscope (STM) to create quantum devices in a matter of hours rather than weeks. Their technique is known as erasable electrostatic lithography.

The microscope draws charge patterns on a semiconducting piece of gallium arsenide and erases the patterns with red light.  The surface charge creates working quantum devices and has been used to make quantum wires, dots and hills.

Posted 14th August 2003

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