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1.  Focused electron beam induced deposition: A perspective 
Background: Focused electron beam induced deposition (FEBID) is a direct-writing technique with nanometer resolution, which has received strongly increasing attention within the last decade. In FEBID a precursor previously adsorbed on a substrate surface is dissociated in the focus of an electron beam. After 20 years of continuous development FEBID has reached a stage at which this technique is now particularly attractive for several areas in both, basic and applied research. The present topical review addresses selected examples that highlight this development in the areas of charge-transport regimes in nanogranular metals close to an insulator-to-metal transition, the use of these materials for strain- and magnetic-field sensing, and the prospect of extending FEBID to multicomponent systems, such as binary alloys and intermetallic compounds with cooperative ground states.
Results: After a brief introduction to the technique, recent work concerning FEBID of Pt–Si alloys and (hard-magnetic) Co–Pt intermetallic compounds on the nanometer scale is reviewed. The growth process in the presence of two precursors, whose flux is independently controlled, is analyzed within a continuum model of FEBID that employs rate equations. Predictions are made for the tunability of the composition of the Co–Pt system by simply changing the dwell time of the electron beam during the writing process. The charge-transport regimes of nanogranular metals are reviewed next with a focus on recent theoretical advancements in the field. As a case study the transport properties of Pt–C nanogranular FEBID structures are discussed. It is shown that by means of a post-growth electron-irradiation treatment the electronic intergrain-coupling strength can be continuously tuned over a wide range. This provides unique access to the transport properties of this material close to the insulator-to-metal transition. In the last part of the review, recent developments in mechanical strain-sensing and the detection of small, inhomogeneous magnetic fields by employing nanogranular FEBID structures are highlighted.
Conclusion: FEBID has now reached a state of maturity that allows a shift of the focus towards the development of new application fields, be it in basic research or applied. This is shown for selected examples in the present review. At the same time, when seen from a broader perspective, FEBID still has to live up to the original idea of providing a tool for electron-controlled chemistry on the nanometer scale. This has to be understood in the sense that, by providing a suitable environment during the FEBID process, the outcome of the electron-induced reactions can be steered in a controlled way towards yielding the desired composition of the products. The development of a FEBID-specialized surface chemistry is mostly still in its infancy. Next to application development, it is this aspect that will likely be a guiding light for the future development of the field of focused electron beam induced deposition.
PMCID: PMC3458607  PMID: 23019557
atomic force microscopy; binary systems; electron beam induced deposition; granular metals; micro Hall magnetometry; radiation-induced nanostructures; strain sensing
2.  Spontaneous dissociation of Co2(CO)8 and autocatalytic growth of Co on SiO2: A combined experimental and theoretical investigation 
We present experimental results and theoretical simulations of the adsorption behavior of the metal–organic precursor Co2(CO)8 on SiO2 surfaces after application of two different pretreatment steps, namely by air plasma cleaning or a focused electron beam pre-irradiation. We observe a spontaneous dissociation of the precursor molecules as well as autodeposition of cobalt on the pretreated SiO2 surfaces. We also find that the differences in metal content and relative stability of these deposits depend on the pretreatment conditions of the substrate. Transport measurements of these deposits are also presented. We are led to assume that the degree of passivation of the SiO2 surface by hydroxyl groups is an important controlling factor in the dissociation process. Our calculations of various slab settings, using dispersion-corrected density functional theory, support this assumption. We observe physisorption of the precursor molecule on a fully hydroxylated SiO2 surface (untreated surface) and chemisorption on a partially hydroxylated SiO2 surface (pretreated surface) with a spontaneous dissociation of the precursor molecule. In view of these calculations, we discuss the origin of this dissociation and the subsequent autocatalysis.
PMCID: PMC3458600  PMID: 23019550
Co2(CO)8; deposition; dissociation; EBID; FEBID; precursor; radiation-induced nanostructures
3.  A Tunable Strain Sensor Using Nanogranular Metals 
Sensors (Basel, Switzerland)  2010;10(11):9847-9856.
This paper introduces a new methodology for the fabrication of strain-sensor elements for MEMS and NEMS applications based on the tunneling effect in nano-granular metals. The strain-sensor elements are prepared by the maskless lithography technique of focused electron-beam-induced deposition (FEBID) employing the precursor trimethylmethylcyclopentadienyl platinum [MeCpPt(Me)3]. We use a cantilever-based deflection technique to determine the sensitivity (gauge factor) of the sensor element. We find that its sensitivity depends on the electrical conductivity and can be continuously tuned, either by the thickness of the deposit or by electron-beam irradiation leading to a distinct maximum in the sensitivity. This maximum finds a theoretical rationale in recent advances in the understanding of electronic charge transport in nano-granular metals.
PMCID: PMC3231023  PMID: 22163443
cantilevers; electron beam induced deposition; granular metals; strain sensors

Results 1-3 (3)