Nanostructured materials and devices will play an important role in a variety of future technologies, including magnetics. We describe a method for nanostructure fabrication based on the use of laser light to focus neutral atoms. The method uses neither a mask nor a resist, but relies on the direct deposition of atoms to form permanent structures. Since the atomic de Broglie wavelength is of picometer order, the size of structures produced is not significantly limited by diffraction, as in optical lithography. Lines as narrow as 38 nm full width at half maximum spaced by 213 nm have been produced and we have demonstrated the production of a two-dimensional array of dots. The highly parallel process of nanostructure formation and the intrinsic accuracy of the optical wavelength that determines structure spacing suggest a number of interesting applications, including calibration standards for various types of microscopy, lithography, and micromeasurement systems. Possible magnetic applications include the production of arrays of magnetic elements, laterally structured giant magnetoresistive devices, and the patterning of magnetic media.
Citation: Journal of Applied Physics
Pub Type: Journals