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Throwing—or Molding—a Curve Into Nanofabrication

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Science  19 Jul 1996:
Vol. 273, Issue 5273, pp. 312
DOI: 10.1126/science.273.5273.312


Today's nanotechnology experts are finally beginning to imitate their Iron Age predecessors, casting forms in molds rather than carving these same shapes over and over. That lesson hasn't been easy to apply to the modern lilliputian worlds of micromachines and optics, where engineers and others use light beams, chemicals, and related tools to carve out tiny features in device after device. Now, however, a team of researchers reports on page 347 the development of a new micromolding technique to produce complex patterns known as gratings, just hundreds of nanometers in width, on the surface of both flat and curved optical material. Flat gratings are crucial to laser steering devices, and curved gratings can be used on lens surfaces and optical fibers to focus and filter light for telecommunications and optical computing applications.

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