Nanomotor Lithography for Affordable, Simpler Nanoscale Device Manufacturing
Nanoengineers at the University of California, San Diego have invented a new method of lithography in which nanoscale robots swim over the surface of light-sensitive material to create complex surface patterns that form the sensors and electronics components on nanoscale devices. Their research offers a simpler and more affordable alternative to the high cost and complexity of current state-of-the-art nanofabrication methods such as electron beam writing. Electron beam writing is used to define extremely precise surface patterns on substrates used in manufacturing microelectronics and medical devices. These patterns form the functioning sensors and electronic components such as transistors and switches packed on today's integrated circuits. The new nanorobots, or nanomotors, are chemically-powered, self-propelled, and magnetically controlled. The engineering team's proof-of-concept study demonstrates the first nanorobot swimmers able to manipulate light for nanoscale surface patterning.