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EPFL researchers have developed a high-precision technology that enables them to carve nanometric patterns into two-dimensional materials.



With their pioneering nanotechnology, EPFL researchers have achieved the impossible. They can now use heat to break the links between atoms with a miniature scalpel. "It's extremely hard to structure 2-D materials using conventional lithography, which often employs aggressive chemicals or accelerated, electrically charged particles, like electrons or ions, that can damage the material's properties," says Xia Liu, a researcher and postdoc in the School of Engineering's Microsystems Laboratory. "Our technique, however, uses a localized heat and pressure 'source' to accurately cut into the 2-D materials."


"Our technology is similar to the art of paper-cutting, which is common in this region of Switzerland, but on a much smaller scale," explains Ana Conde Rubio, co-author of the study. "We use heat to modify the substrate and make it more flexible and, in some cases, even turn it into a gas. We can then more easily carve into the 2-D material."

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Category: Science