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Improving Nanoscale Manufacturing with IR Spectroscopy

Photonics.com
Oct 2012
URBANA, Ill., Oct. 12, 2012 — A new infrared spectroscopy diagnostic tool that can chemically analyze polymer lines as small as 100 nm could be the answer to the industry’s critical need for nanomanufacturing chemical metrology, according to an industry-university collaboration.

Nanomanufacturing technologies have come a long way; a key achievement is the development of manufacturing technologies that fabricate nanostructures formed from multiple materials. Such nanoscale integration of composites has enabled innovations in solar cells, electronic devices and medical diagnostics. However, there has been little progress in measurement technologies that can provide information about these integrated nanostructures.

“While nanotechnologists have long been interested in the manufacturing of integrated nanostructures, they have been limited by the lack of tools that can identify material composition at the nanometer scale,” said Craig Prater, chief technology officer at Anasys Instruments Inc.


Atomic force microscope infrared spectroscopy (AFM-IR) is a nanotechnology-based materials identification technique. Courtesy of University of Illinois College of Engineering.

Researchers at Anasys and scientists at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign developed diagnostic tools using atomic force microscope-based infrared spectroscopy (AFM-IR). The method can identify polymer nanostructures and systems of integrated polymer nanostructures by directing rapidly pulsed IR laser light on a thin sample, which absorbs the IR light and undergoes rapid thermomechanical expansion. The resonance of the polymer nanostructure can then be measured using an AFM tip.

“In this research, we have been able to chemically analyze polymer lines as small as 100 nm,” said William King, the College of Engineering Bliss Professor in the Department of Mechanical Science and Engineering. “We can also clearly distinguish different nanopatterned polymers using their infrared absorption spectra.” The technique can also simultaneously map the nanoscale morphology and perform nanoscale chemical analysis, Prater said.

The study appeared in ACS Nano (doi: 10.1021/nn302620f).

For more information, visit: www.engineering.illinois.edu


GLOSSARY
infrared spectroscopy
The measurement of the ability of matter to absorb, transmit or reflect infrared radiation and the relating of the resultant data to chemical structure.
photonics
The technology of generating and harnessing light and other forms of radiant energy whose quantum unit is the photon. The science includes light emission, transmission, deflection, amplification and detection by optical components and instruments, lasers and other light sources, fiber optics, electro-optical instrumentation, related hardware and electronics, and sophisticated systems. The range of applications of photonics extends from energy generation to detection to communications and...
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