Localization of Metastable Atom Beams with Optical Standing Waves: Nanolithography at the Heisenberg Limit

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Science  05 Jun 1998:
Vol. 280, Issue 5369, pp. 1583-1586
DOI: 10.1126/science.280.5369.1583

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The spatially dependent de-excitation of a beam of metastable argon atoms, traveling through an optical standing wave, produced a periodic array of localized metastable atoms with position and momentum spreads approaching the limit stated by the Heisenberg uncertainty principle. Silicon and silicon dioxide substrates placed in the path of the atom beam were patterned by the metastable atoms. The de-excitation of metastable atoms upon collision with the surface promoted the deposition of a carbonaceous film from a vapor-phase hydrocarbon precursor. The resulting patterns were imaged both directly and after chemical etching. Thus, quantum-mechanical steady-state atom distributions can be used for sub-0.1-micrometer lithography.

  • * Present address: IGEN International Inc., 16020 Industrial Drive, Gaithersburg, MD 20877, USA.

  • Present address: MIT Lincoln Laboratory, Analog Device Technology Group, Lexington, MA 02173, USA.

  • Present address: Lehman Brothers, 3 World Financial Center, New York, NY 10285, USA.

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