The development of a new research instrument for nanoscale elemental analysis and materials modification using scattering of noble gas ions creates opportunities for materials science unachievable to date. Intellectual challenges include the creation of the tool, understanding energetic ion-solid interactions with a nano-beam, and applications, both in materials analysis and materials modification. Our project integrates two recent technological developments: Focused nanoscale ion beams available as the Zeiss ORIONÂ® He microscope and picosecond timing electronics with high throughput by IonwerksÂ®. Analysis applications include the first ion beam interrogation of individual nanostructures and determinations of lateral film uniformity. The instrument will also be used for materials modifications such as graphene based counters for single molecule analysis, development of qubit based superconducting junctions for quantum computing and studies of the behavior of defects within nano-structured materials. Also included is the development of nanoscale Ne beams for materials modification and sample preparation, an entirely new ion beam capability. Such beams may be used for ion milling on the nm scale, semiconductor amorphization and implantation with nm precision, spatial control of 'single ion upsets' in electronic devices, new tests of inter-granular defects for fusion applications and the creation of new materials from ion-carved graphene and other two dimensional materials.
Nanoscale materials have an enormous impact on basic and applied science. Unanticipated phenomena and functionalities are being discovered and exploited commercially at an ever increasing pace. New experimental tools are therefore needed to reliably perform materials characterization and modification at the same level. This project introduces a significant advance through the development of a versatile ion beam facility for true nano-scale ion spectroscopy, ion beam materials modification and ion beam milling. The project integrates new ion beam technologies to allow analysis of individual nano-particles as well as materials modification of nanostructures and ion sculpting and milling with unprecedented spatial control, involving the development of a new, heavy ion nano-beam. This represents a leap in ion beam oriented materials science. New science and technology is anticipated such as the investigation of the ligand binding of gold nanoparticles used in cancer drug delivery, the creation of nanometer orifices to explore DNA sequencing and the formation of quantum structures for advanced computing and communications. The direct and visually oriented nature of the information from this instrument will illustrate the excitement of materials science to students ranging from middle school to advanced graduate students through a well developed local infrastructure. As Rutgers has an extraordinarily diverse student body, the project will be particularly useful in attracting underrepresented groups. The instrument will provide excellent opportunities for hands-on experience in the development and use of sophisticated scientific equipment for undergraduate students and enrich the graduate curriculum. The general public will be involved through open houses and lectures. As a 'one of a kind' instrument this instrument will attract world leaders in the diverse fields addressed by nano-materials. Together with other recent NSF awarded instrumentation, this instrument will establish Rutgers as a national center for nano-scale microscopy.