TCNL uses a heated atomic force microscope (AFM) tip to produce patterns. The AFM-based litho process could build high-density, low-cost, complex ferroelectric structures, enabling energy harvesting arrays, sensors, and nano-electromechanical systems (NEMS) and micro-electromechanical systems (MEMS).
The piezoelectric materials can be made into precise shapes and deposited accurately on a flexible substrate, said Nazanin Bassiri-Gharb, assistant professor, Georgia Tech School of Mechanical Engineering. The structures were "directly grown with a CMOS-compatible process" at the smallest resolution acheived to-date, Bassiri-Gharb adds, pointing out that lower-temperature processing isn't the only benefit to the process. Wires were built to 30nm wide; spheres were made with 10nm diameters.