ARCHIVED - A Printer of Nanostructures

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February 04, 2004— Ottawa, Ontario

For many applications, it can be helpful to visualize the synchrotron, beamlines and endstations, as constituting a gigantic microscope, offering the inside scoop on internal structures of research samples. NRC researchers promoting the Canadian Synchrotron Nanostructures Facility at the CLS, however, view the synchrotron in an entirely different light. To them, it is a powerful 3D parallel printer.

Micron-sized and nano-sized (barely visible) letters printed by researchers at NRC-IMI using the NIL method.
Micron-sized and nano-sized (barely visible) letters printed by researchers at NRC-IMI using the NIL method.

Scientists at the NRC Industrial Materials Institute (NRC-IMI) are experts in a technique called NanoImprint Lithography (NIL). In this technique, a solid, robust master with nano-sized features is used to stamp structures into soft thermoplastic materials. After the polymer is hardened by cooling, components for optical, microfluidic or nano-electromechanical devices can be formed from it. Research and development into such areas as fuel cells, biosensors and computing is driving an ever-increasing demand for these components with tiny feature sizes.

NanoImprint Lithography at NRC-IMI

Dr. Teodor Veres of NRC-IMI participated in defining and writing the proposal for a nanostructures facility at CLS. The proposal has been approved by the CLS advisory committee.

The ability of the X-rays provided by the CLS to penetrate matter will allow for fabrication of structures which are not only small but also deep. These high-aspect-ratio structures could provide unexpected opportunities for three dimensional micro and nano devices.

Replication by the NIL method has obvious commercial potential, allowing for large volume production of nanostructures. But where do you get the master? An advanced proposal exists to build a nanostructures facility at the CLS capable of producing extremely precise masters with feature sizes smaller than 50 nanometres.

Follow the links below to learn more about NRC projects planned for the Canadian Light Source.


Enquiries: Media relations
National Research Council of Canada
613-991-1431
media@nrc-cnrc.gc.ca

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