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Atom Pinhole Camera Acts as a Shrinking Copy Machine

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pinhole camera

In an atom pinhole camera, atoms pass through pinholes in a mask and generate a scaled-down nanostructure of the masks pattern onto a substrate

Credit: P.N. Melentiev, et al.

Scientists from the Institute of Spectroscopy at the Russian Academy of Sciences have developed a method of nanofabrication that uses an atom pinhole camera to create nanometer-sized copies of micrometer-sized objects. The researchers, working with colleagues from the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology, demonstrated how to use the camera to manufacture atomic nanostructures of controlled shapes and sizes. The technique could be used to create individual nanostructures as small as 30 nanometers, a size reduction of 10,000 times compared to the original object.

The academy's Victor Balykin says current experimental results show the resolution to be about 30 nm, but the researchers calculations and theoretical predictions show that the resolution could be as small as 6 nm.

Optical pinhole cameras create high-quality images with high resolution that depends on the diameter of the pinhole. Manufacturing nanostructures with an atom pinhole camera offers several advantages over other nanofabrication techniques, including optical photolithography, nanolithography, and atom optics methods that use lenses, which are limited by diffraction. Balykin says there are numerous methods to build nanostructures on a surface, but they are usually very complicated, costly, and limited in choice of materials, while the atom pinhole camera can be built in any lab.

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Abstracts Copyright © 2009 Information Inc., Bethesda, Maryland, USA


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