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Researchers at the University of Sheffield have discovered a new way of making small molecules self-assemble into complex nanopatterns.

This will surely push the limits of what is possible in so-called ‘bottom-up’ methods of nanopatterning for advanced functional materials through molecular self-assembly.

The research, which was led by Dr. Xiangbing Zeng and Professor Goran Ungar from the Department of Materials Science and Engineering, and colleagues from Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg in Germany, opens the way to new methods of producing bottom-up ultra-small electronic and photonic integrated circuits.

This would mean that instead of the expensive and slow electron, ion-beam or X-ray lithography, the molecules would assemble and form the desired patterns themselves. Today, visible or UV light is still used, but how small a pattern can be made is limited by the wavelength of light.

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Category: Science