This major research instrumentation project is to acquire a high-performance Electron Beam Lithography system for research, education and broader impact in the Western New York region. The system uses an ultra-narrow beam of high energy electrons (1.8 nm wide) to define features on the scale of tens of nanometers. The unique capabilities of this advanced nanofabrication tool will enable crucial research in a broad range of fields spanning engineering, physics, chemistry, materials science and biology. The state-of-the-art tool will be installed at the University at Buffalo and provide both onsite and remote access to a large number of students, faculty, researchers and entrepreneurs across the region. The unique feature of the tool is the ability to define sub-10 nm dimension structures with fast writing speed over large areas. This feature is very important for cutting edge research in electronics and photonics. The aim is to rapidly translate the fundamental knowledge gained in academic laboratories to real world applications. Another feature of the tool is the ability to define nm structures on flexible substrates that are essential for biomedical applications. Undergraduate and graduate students in the engineering and science disciplines will have access to the tool. They will be trained in its use through courses and programs offered by the electrical engineering department at the University at Buffalo. The tool will enable cutting-edge research across computing, communications, healthcare, and education. The research opportunity given to undergraduate and graduate students will help build the skills of the future workforce for knowledge-based economy and maintain the economic competitiveness of the US. The tool will improve the research infrastructure in the western New York region and positively impact the economy of the region. The remote access feature will enable students to submit their designs for fabrication from any location. The instrument will also contribute to strong outreach programs in engineering and applied sciences. Investigators will provide mentorship to underrepresented students in science and engineering.
Electron beam lithography is an indispensable tool for advanced research in electronics, photonics, physics, and materials science. The tool will enable research in a broad range of topics: low power non-volatile high speed ferroelectric and magneto-electric based logic and memory devices for energy efficient data intensive computing applications; emerging low power and efficient quantum devices; nano-electronics based on two-dimensional (2D) materials; high power flexible electronics based on widebandgap semiconductors; room temperature THz devices based on coupling of optical phonons in III-V semiconductors to graphene plasmonic structures; understanding of the fundamental physics in correlated electron systems; THz plasmonic structures for chemical and biological sensing; graphene plasmonic array for THz communication; and characterization of 2D materials, heterointerfaces, and devices. These high impact research have applications that range from computing, communication, energy and health. It will also help in understanding fundamental physics in correlated materials and the switching dynamics in technologically important antiferromagnetic oxides. The proposed tool to be acquired will have large acceleration voltage, sub-10nm lithographic resolution, high beam position resolution, sub-20 nm stitching and overlay accuracy, tunable field size up to 3000 micrometers for high throughput writing, and height correction feature for writing on flexible substrates. These unique features are essential to carry out the proposed research.
This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.