PORTLAND, Ore.—Ferroelectric memories, energy harvesting arrays, sensors and actuators could soon be fabricated on plastic substrates, according to researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology, who recently demonstrated a new low-temperature process using an atomic-force microscope (AFM).
Using a process called thermochemical nano-lithography, a team led by Georgia Tech professor NazaninBassiri-Gharb has discovered a low-temperature process for depositing ferroelectric materials on plastic substrates. The group, which also includes postdoctoral fellow Suenne Kim, professor Elisa Riedo, and graduate assistant Yaser Bastani, recently demonstrated nanoscale ferroelectric structures that could be used to fabricated ferroelectric devices on cheap polymers.
Using the heated tip of an AFM, the group fabricated ferroelectric structures suitable for semiconductor devices or MEMS-like sensors and actuators, including wires just 30 nanometers wide and spheres just 10 nanometers in diameter. For ferroelectric memories, the group estimates that densities as high as 200 gigabytes per square inch could be fabricated with their process.
The research was performed in cooperation with the University of Illinois (Urbana-Champaign) and the University of Nebraska (Lincoln). Funding was provided by the National Science Foundation and the U.S. Department of Energy.
Georgia Tech postdoctoral fellow Suenne Kim (left) holds a sample of flexible polyimide substrate holding ferroelectric nanostructures, produced in the lab of professor Nazanin Bassiri-Gharb (center) while graduate assistant Yaser Bastani observes. Photo credit: Gary Meek, Georgia Tech.