Nanotechnology has become a multibillion dollar global industry, poised for double-digit growth in the coming years. At the macro scale, bulk material effects control performance, while at the nanoscale, surface effects dominate. This characteristic allows nanotechnology to drive technical advance after technical advance, ranging from nano-enabled NOR flash to carbon-nanotube transistors to uber-efficient photovoltaics. With the nanodevice market alone expected to amount to hundreds of millions of dollars within the next several years, big things to come indeed, come in small packages.
Of course, anybody in engineering knows that you can’t successfully produce a device or product if you can’t measure it. Accurate characterization requires measurement equipment capable of resolutions higher than the dimensions of the structures and materials under test. When you’re working at the nanoscale, often well below the diffraction limit for optical technologies, that can be a pretty big challenge, indeed. To discuss the latest advances, the nanometrology community will gather June 25-26, at the University of Warsaw (Warsaw, Poland) for the third annual NanoMeasure symposium.
Over the past few years, as much activity has taken place in nanoscale metrology as has taken place in nanotechnology as a whole. “Worldwide, there’s growing interest in nano-characterization tools that allow researchers to go beyond the optical diffraction limit and measure surface properties both accurately and reproducibly,” says Jeff Jones, general manager for Agilent Technologies’ nanomeasure operations. Research groups and manufacturers are finding new ways to extract information from atomic force, scanning probe, and transmission electron microscopes. At the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology, researchers are developing systems for mapping nano-scale stress distributions using techniques like super-resolution confocal Raman microscopy (CRM), electron back scattered diffraction (EBSD), and high-resolution X-ray diffraction (XRD).
Figure: Topographic atomic force microscope image (1.5µm × 1.5µm scan) of single-layer graphene oxide (top) allows a closer look at the individual layers. The cross-sectional profile (bottom) corresponds to the blue line drawn in the topographic image.
Scanning microwave microscopy (SMM) mode, uses an atomic force microscope (AFM) cantilever to deliver the signal from a microwave vector network analyzer (VNA) to the region under test. The method correlates electromagnetic properties of the sample with its physical structure to characterize the properties of the material at the nanoscale. Developed by Agilent, SMM mode characterizes highly localized capacitance, dopant density, charge distribution, and dielectric properties on a wide variety of materials, including dielectrics, ferroelectrics, insulators, and biological materials, and does not require an oxide layer.
These techniques represent only a fraction of the development underway for nano characterization, making it essential for the community to discuss the latest advances at NanoMeasure. The two-day meeting will feature four application-focused sessions:
"In Situ Life Science Studies, Biomaterials and Single-molecule Characterization at the Nanoscale," which will cover work ranging from classic cell biology and biophysics metrology techniques like single-molecule force spectroscopy and fluorescence to engineered biomaterials and biomedical engineering. Peter Hinterdorfer, head of atomic force microscopy at Johannes Kepler University (Linz, Germany) will chair the session, which features an invited paper by Denis Fichou, head of the Organic Nanostructures and Semiconductors Group at the Université Pierre et Marie Curie (Paris, France).
"Films, Membranes, and Materials for Renewable Energy," which will address electrical properties characterization of fuel cell membranes, battery membranes, solar cells, thin films, polymers, organic photovoltaics, graphene, and novel materials for high-efficiency energy solutions. Chaired by chemistry professor Renata Bilewicz of the University of Warsaw, the session features invited papers by H.-D. Wiemhöfer of Westfälische, professor of inorganic chemistry at Wilhelms University (Münster, Germany) and Jürgen Smoliner of the Vienna University of Technology Institute of Solid-State Electronics.
Nanomechanical Properties of Organic and Inorganic Materials, which will focus on quantitative AFM methods, dynamic testing of natural and synthetic fibers, and the mechanical properties of soft organic materials such as hydrogels and polymers and hard inorganic materials such as ceramics, metals, coatings, and DLC films. The session chair is Warren Oliver of Nanomechanics (Oak Ridge, TN), and guest speakers include Roland Bennewitz, senior group leader of the nanotribology group at the Leibniz Institute for New Materials (Saarbrücken, Germany), Lee Hakju of the Korea Institute of Machinery & Materials (Daejeon, Korea), and Bharat Bhushan of Ohio State University (Columbus, OH)
"Discovering and Exploring New Nanoscale Frontiers," which will present methods and technologies that expand the scope of nanomeasurement application areas such as nanoscale imaging and electrical properties characterization. Boris Mizaikoff, Chair/Director, Institute of Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry at the University of Ulm (Ulm, Germany) will chair the event, which includes guest speaker Ting Yu of the Nanyang Technological University (Singapore).
George Pharr of the University of Tennessee, Knoxville will deliver the keynote address for the meeting, which is organized by Agilent Technologies Inc. (City, state).
For more information or to view the call for papers, click here.
David Patterson, known for his pioneering research that led to RAID, clusters and more, is part of a team at UC Berkeley that recently made its RISC-V processor architecture an open source hardware offering. We talk with Patterson and one of his colleagues behind the effort about the opportunities they see, what new kinds of designs they hope to enable and what it means for today’s commercial processor giants such as Intel, ARM and Imagination Technologies.