Nano Land Down Under
I arrived in Sydney earlier today (Tuesday) with my merry band of IBM traveling colleagues.
We landed around 5:15 AM Sydney time, then promptly headed into town to grab a catnap. As much as I tried to sleep on the flight from Singapore to Sydney, I was stuck in a middle seat bulkhead in coach class, and so sleep was cheap.
Thanks again to our colleagues in Singapore. Our time together was brief but informative, and I look forward to returning there someday soon.
As to the Land Down Under, it’s my first visit here, but having seen a bit of Sydney now, it certainly won’t be my last. The Sydney Harbour view is breathtaking, and yes, I saw the Opera House (it’s kind of hard to miss being right down the street from our hotel).
No bunyip sightings as of yet, but the week’s just getting started.
Even as I worked hard at getting small in my Qantas seat overnight, IBM scientists have been busy getting jiggy with their nanotechnology.
In fact, they’ve been so busy they created a 3D map of the earth so small recently that 1,000 of them could fit on one grain of salt!
They were able to accomplish this through a new, breakthrough technique that uses a tiny silicon tip with a sharp apex — 100,000 times smaller than a sharpened pencil — to create patterns and structures as small as 15 nanometers at greatly reduced cost and complexity.
This patterning technique opens new prospects for developing nanosized objects in fields such as electronics, future chip technology, medicine, life sciences, and optoelectronics.
To demonstrate the technique’s unique capability, the team created several 3D and 2D patterns, using different materials for each one as reported in the scientific journals Science and Advanced Materials:
- A 25-nanometer-high 3D replica of the Matterhorn, a famous Alpine mountain that soars 4,478 m (14,692 ft) high, was created in molecular glass, representing a scale of 1:5 billion.**
- Complete 3D map of the world measuring only 22 by 11 micrometers was “written” on a polymer. At this size, 1,000 world maps could fit on a grain of salt. In the relief, one thousand meters of altitude correspond to roughly eight nanometers (nm). It is composed of 500,000 pixels, each measuring 20 nm2, and was created in only 2 minutes and 23 seconds.
- 2D nano-sized IBM logo was etched 400-nm-deep into silicon, demonstrating the viability of the technique for typical nanofabrication applications.
- 2D high-resolution 15-nm dense line patterning.
You can learn more about this fascinating new development by watching the following video, which interviews several of the scientists involved in the effort.