"CHIPS: Groups move atomic lithography closer to fabs"
Two research groups in Holland have joined worldwide efforts to apply atomic lithography to nanoscale integration of semiconductors. Researchers using this method tackle the usual process in reverse: Instead of forcing light through a physical mask, they focus a physical beam of atoms with a mask made from standing waves of light. First demonstrated in 1997, atomic lithography has since been applied in labs in the United States, Japan and Europe for beams of matter as diverse as chromium, sodium and aluminum, as well as to indium and gallium. To that list, the Dutch researchers have added iron. "We have used iron, because we want to make magnetic nanostructures. Our substrate at the moment is simply a silicon wafer, but it is important to note that in principle any substrate material can be used � glass, metal, ceramic, even organic substrates," said Eindhoven University of Technology professor Ton van Leeuwen. Researchers in another Dutch group, led by professor Theo Rasing at Radboud University Nijmegen, report similar results.