Nanofabrication and characterisation
We have a growing track record in nanofabrication and characterisation and produce devices for nanoelectronics research at the University and nano and quantum metrology for the National Physical Laboratory.
The majority of the devices and structures we produce are made using optical and e-beam lithography, focused ion beam, and in-situ manipulation of nano and micro-scaled objects. Nanofabrication is quite simply fabrication on a nanometer scale. Likewise nanomanipulation is the manipulation of objects and structures on a similar scale. The reason we do this is to exploit the unique properties that can exist in materials and devices when they are this small.
The scales involved
To give an idea of the scale involved by using examples from nature:
- The often quoted human hair is about 50 micrometers in diameter, that is fifty-millionths of a meter, about half that diameter is a grain of pollen from a daisy.
- A human red blood cell is a little under 10 micrometers in diameter.
- An E.coli bacterium is two micrometers long, and less than one micrometer in diameter (one millionth of a meter), we commonly work at this scale.
- Finally a single strand of DNA is about two nanometers in diameter (two billionths of a meter). In our work this is about as small as we go, where we work with carbon nanotubes and other nanowires of similar dimensions.