Machining Oxide Thin Films with an Atomic Force Microscope: Pattern and Object Formation on the Nanometer Scale

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Science  17 Jul 1992:
Vol. 257, Issue 5068, pp. 375-377
DOI: 10.1126/science.257.5068.375


An atomic force microscope (AFM) has been used to machine complex patterns and to form free structural objects in thin layers of MoO3 grown on the surface of MoS2. The AFM tip can pattern lines with ≤10-nanometer resolution and then image the resulting structure without perturbation by controlling the applied load. Distinct MoO3 structures can also be defined by AFM machining, and furthermore these objects can be manipulated on the MoS2 substrate surface with the AFM tip. These results suggest application to nanometer-scale diffraction gratings, high-resolution lithography masks, and possibly the assembly of nanostructures with novel properties.