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1.  In situ growth optimization in focused electron-beam induced deposition 
Summary
We present the application of an evolutionary genetic algorithm for the in situ optimization of nanostructures that are prepared by focused electron-beam-induced deposition (FEBID). It allows us to tune the properties of the deposits towards the highest conductivity by using the time gradient of the measured in situ rate of change of conductance as the fitness parameter for the algorithm. The effectiveness of the procedure is presented for the precursor W(CO)6 as well as for post-treatment of Pt–C deposits, which were obtained by the dissociation of MeCpPt(Me)3. For W(CO)6-based structures an increase of conductivity by one order of magnitude can be achieved, whereas the effect for MeCpPt(Me)3 is largely suppressed. The presented technique can be applied to all beam-induced deposition processes and has great potential for a further optimization or tuning of parameters for nanostructures that are prepared by FEBID or related techniques.
doi:10.3762/bjnano.4.103
PMCID: PMC3869208  PMID: 24367761
electron beam induced deposition; genetic algorithm; nanotechnology; tungsten
2.  Focused electron beam induced deposition: A perspective 
Summary
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.
doi:10.3762/bjnano.3.70
PMCID: PMC3458607  PMID: 23019557
atomic force microscopy; binary systems; electron beam induced deposition; granular metals; micro Hall magnetometry; radiation-induced nanostructures; strain sensing
3.  Directed deposition of silicon nanowires using neopentasilane as precursor and gold as catalyst 
Summary
In this work the applicability of neopentasilane (Si(SiH3)4) as a precursor for the formation of silicon nanowires by using gold nanoparticles as a catalyst has been explored. The growth proceeds via the formation of liquid gold/silicon alloy droplets, which excrete the silicon nanowires upon continued decomposition of the precursor. This mechanism determines the diameter of the Si nanowires. Different sources for the gold nanoparticles have been tested: the spontaneous dewetting of gold films, thermally annealed gold films, deposition of preformed gold nanoparticles, and the use of “liquid bright gold”, a material historically used for the gilding of porcelain and glass. The latter does not only form gold nanoparticles when deposited as a thin film and thermally annealed, but can also be patterned by using UV irradiation, providing access to laterally structured layers of silicon nanowires.
doi:10.3762/bjnano.3.62
PMCID: PMC3458599  PMID: 23019549
chemical vapor deposition; gold; nanoparticle; patterning; radiation-induced nanostructures; vapor-liquid-solid mechanism

Results 1-3 (3)