Micro- and nanoscale structures are important in electronic devices and circuits. The most commonly used method for creating such structures – the use of photolithography, which allowed you to create and mass produce structures on the nanometer scale. With this method, the semiconductor industry can produce plates with hundreds of integrated circuits on one plate with a resolution of <10 nm, and all within a few minutes.
Although it has many advantages, One of the major limitations of the standard photolithography is, that all the elements are defined in the same focal plane, meaning, that the template only works on flat surfaces. so, what, if the surface is curved?
A possible solution to this problem has recently been presented by Professor Ilari Maasilta from the University of Jyväskylä in Finland. Maasilta and his research team show, photolithography that still can be done in a special way, using a laser, focused in a small three-dimensional spot, which is controlled in three dimensions after a change of height, reaching 20 micrometers. This method of direct laser writing (DLW) It allows to produce submicron metal wiring both upwards, and down (Cm. Picture 1).
Another method of production of metal structures in the micrometer range is called additive manufacturing. The main drivers of this technology are freedom of size and design of the object. However, Design resolution can not be changed, since the diameter voxel (voxel – This 3D-version of the pixel) It is usually fixed.
Adjusting the print volume on the fly, ie during the printing process, – It `s that, that was studied by Dr. Giorgio Ercolano, Professor Tomaso Zambelli and their colleagues from the ETH Zürich, Switzerland. adjusting the pressure, which device pushes the liquid in the printing process of the printing nozzles, You can increase or decrease the amount of fluid, ejected onto the surface. The result is a precise control of the voxel space to two orders of magnitude.
The picture on the right shows the structure, comprising four helical wire, which were manufactured by changing the pressure on the basis of voxels so, to four wires have different diameters, but each was uniform over the entire length.
These results show, that additive microgeneration facilities is now possible with the size of the objects, since one micrometer, up to hundreds of micrometers. Filler mikroproizvodimye objects can support multiple areas of research, from semiconductor to high technologies, or any other field, requiring mikrometallicheskie details. The flexibility to print objects in shape and design provides an excellent opportunity for research institutions to make objects on request and to the extent, is not possible with any other technology. The next task – combine different production methods and to create a fully functional parts with new features.