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October 27, 2005

Pitt stands alone in nanofabrication capability

Pitt recently became the only institution in the United States and only the second in the world to have nanofabrication capability. Eight researchers in Pitt’s Institute of NanoScience and Engineering (INSE) last week completed training on the new Raith electron beam Lithography and Nano Engineering (eLiNE) workstation.

The eLiNE system allows researchers to create nanometer-scale structures using an electron beam that is focused to less than two nanometers. A unique feature of this instrument is an electron beam-induced deposition and etching capability that allows metals, insulators and semiconductors to be added or removed, using the electrons as a nanocatalyst.

Pitt students and faculty from various disciplines, including electrical engineering, biomedical engineering, physics and chemistry, are scheduled for training.

“In a sense, it’s like having a machine shop, only a million times smaller,” said Jeremy Levy, professor of physics and astronomy, who is in charge of training new users and maintaining the instrument.

“What is exciting is that researchers have come to the initial training session with some precursory ideas about what they want to do, but after seeing all of the capabilities, their outlooks change; completely new approaches now seem possible,” Levy added.

This is the first major piece of instrumentation at INSE. Two others, a focused ion beam system and a transmission electron microscope, are scheduled for delivery in early 2006.

Filed under: Feature,Volume 38 Issue 5

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