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Research Training Group (RTG) on Tip- and laser-based 3D-Nanofabrication in extended macroscopic working areas (NanoFab)
The semiconductor industry has been following Moore’s Law for over 40 years with amazing continuity. In spite of enormous improvements made in the field of optical lithography, it can be expected that structure sizes smaller than 20 nm can be achieved by conventional technology only at considerable expense. Consequently the fundamental challenge is to develop alternative fabrication technologies in particular for micro and nanotechnologies that are capable of measuring and patterning at the atomic scale in growing operating volumes of several hundred millimetres in diameter. Tip-based nanofabrication methods offer high potential in this context. They already enable patterning in sub-10 nm range, but so far only in small processing areas (some 100 µm2), at low speed and with limited precision. Optical methods, due to non-linear effects, already allow the generation of subwavelength structures in the plane even in large areas for surface functionalisation. The challenge addressed by our research consortium is to realise such functionalizations on non-planar surfaces, such as aspheres or freeform surfaces. The aim of this proposal is to synergistically combine sophisticated nanofabrication techniques with the outstanding capabilities of Nanopositioning- and Nanomeasuring machines (NPM machines) so that new, multi-scale solutions arise for nanofabrication in large areas. It is to be examined to what extent smallest features can be produced efficiently in large areas by combining the latest AFM tip-based nanofabrication techniques with the NPM technique. Likewise laser-based subwavelength processing methods in conjunction with the NPM-technology shall open up the possibility to enable truly 3D nanofabrication with highest precision on optical and particulary curved precision surfaces. Compared with nanometrology the particular challenge of nanofabrication is that static and dynamic deviations of position lead to errors (geometry errors, deviations in shape, roughness) in the produced nanostructures or nanoscale objects. A post generation correction is possible only in the case of measurement, but not during the production processes. The research consortium can build on a successful multi-year collaboration in the SFB Nanopositioning- and Nanomeasuring Machines, the Research Training Group Lorentz Force and the research project Inno Profiles Force Measurement and the DFG device-center Micro-Nano-Integration at IMN MacroNano® of the TU Ilmenau.