Cost-effective generation of single-digit nano-lithographic features could be the way by which novel nanoelectronic devices, as single electron transistors combined with sophisticated CMOS integrated circuits, can be obtained. The capabilities of Field-Emission Scanning Probe Lithography (FE-SPL) and reactive ion etching (RIE) at cryogenic temperature open up a route to overcome the fundamental size limitations in nanofabrication. FE-SPL employs Fowler-Nordheim electron emission from the tip of a scanning probe in ambient conditions. The energy of the emitted electrons (<100 eV) is close to the lithographically relevant chemical excitations of the resist, thus strongly reducing proximity effects. The use of active, i.e. self-sensing and self-actuated, cantilevers as probes for FE-SPL leads to several promising performance benefits. These include: (1) Closed-loop lithography including pre-imaging, overlay alignment, exposure, and post-imaging for feature inspection; (2) Sub-5-nm lithographic resolution with sub-nm line edge roughness; (3) High overlay alignment accuracy; (4) Relatively low costs of ownership, since no vacuum is needed, and ease-of-use. Thus, FE-SPL is a promising tool for rapid nanoscale prototyping and fabrication of high resolution nanoimprint lithography templates. To demonstrate its capabilities we applied FE-SPL and RIE to fabricate single electron transistors (SET) targeted to operate at room temperature. Electrical characterization of these SET confirmed that the smallest functional structures had a diameter of only 1.8 nanometers. Devices at single digit nano-dimensions contain only a few dopant atoms and thus, these might be used to store and process quantum information by employing the states of individual atoms.
Ivo W. Rangelow, Claudia Lenk , Martin Hofmann , Steve Lenk , Tzvetan Ivanov , Ahmad Ahmad , Marcus Kaestner, Elshad Guliyev, Christoph Reuter, Matthias Budden, Jens-Peter Zöllner, Mathias Holz , Alexander Reum, Zahid Durrani, Mervyn Jones, Cemal Aydogan, Mahmut Bicer, B. Erdem Alaca, Michael Kuehnel, Thomas Fröhlich, Roland Fuessl, and E. Manske, "Field-emission scanning probe lithography with self-actuating and self-sensing cantilevers for devices with single digit nanometer dimensions," Proc. SPIE 10584, Novel Patterning Technologies 2018, 1058406 (Presented at SPIE Advanced Lithography: February 27, 2018; Published: 19 March 2018); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2299955.
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