One of the enabling technologies of our time is photolithography, the process that creates patterns on the surface of materials such as silicon, silicon dioxide and other components of microelectronic devices.
It’s hard to overstate the importance of this technique. Almost all microchips are made using it so the fruits of this invention permeate our world.
Now computer scientists have begun to look beyond silicon for the next generation of chips and the ones beyond that. And one of the most exciting materials they are investigating is diamond.
But there is a problem. Making devices out of diamond is a difficult business because of its chemical robustness. Photolithography simply does not work.
Instead, physicists can only carve the surface of diamond using high-energy processes such as high-power laser ablation and ion bombardment. And these often destroy the surface and anything on it.
What they need insread is a process that produces patterns on the surface of diamond as easily as photolithography does with silicon.
Today, Aiden Martin and buddies at the University of Technology in Sydney, Australia, say they developed such a technique. They’ve found a way of fabricating structures out of diamond using a low-energy technique that does not damage the surface or destroy structures nearby.To read more, click here.