University of Pittsburgh
October 19, 2005

New Nanofabrication Capability Makes Pitt Unique in United States

Contact:  412-624-4147

PITTSBURGH-The University of Pittsburgh recently became the only institution in the United States and only the second in the world to have a unique nanofabrication capability. Eight researchers in Pitt's Institute of NanoScience and Engineering (INSE) have just completed a week of training on the new Raith electron beam Lithography and Nano Engineering (eLiNE) workstation.

The eLiNE system allows researchers to create nanometer-scale structures using an electron beam that is focused to less than two nanometers. A unique feature of this instrument is an electron beam-induced deposition and etching capability that allows metals, insulators, and semiconductors to be added or removed, using the electrons as a nanocatalyst. This new capability only recently has become commercially available.

Pitt students and faculty from various disciplines, including electrical engineering, biomedical engineering, physics, and chemistry, are scheduled for training.

"In a sense, it's like having a machine shop, only a million times smaller," said Jeremy Levy, Pitt professor of physics and astronomy and the faculty member in charge of training new users and maintaining the instrument.

"What is exciting is that researchers have come to the initial training session with some precursory ideas about what they want to do, but after seeing all of the capabilities, their outlooks change; completely new approaches now seem possible," Levy added.

The eLiNE system is the first of three major pieces of instrumentation available at INSE. The other two instruments, a focused ion beam system and a transmission electron microscope, are scheduled for delivery in early 2006.

The INSE is an integrated, multidisciplinary organization that brings coherence to the University's research efforts and resources in the fields of nanoscale science and engineering.