Sub-10 nm fabrication: molecular templating, electron-beam sculpting and crystallization of metallic nanowires


This technology provides a technique for fabricating metallic structures with dimensions considerably smaller than 10 nm and the use of a focused electron beam to locally manipulate nanowires with a resolution of about 3 nm. This is the first technology to use an electron beam and achieve such a high resolution of matter manipulation.

Metallic devices hold promise for miniaturization because the electronic wavelength is much smaller in metals than in semiconductors. This technology allows users to fabricate metallic structures with dimensions around 4 nm. The method is based on the application of single linear molecules. This type of metallic decoration results in a very thin metallic wire. Researchers have discovered that in order to produce continuous homogenous wires without breaks, one has to use amorphous metals and alloys which exhibit a high adhesion to the molecule. This technology also allows the use of a focused electron beam to locally modify the shape and the morphology of nanowires with a resolution of about 3 nm. A high energy focused electron beam is used for this purpose. The beam is available in a standard transmission electron microscope. Additionally, this technology can produce a nanograin small enough that its charging energy is less than room temperature thermal fluctuation energy. Therefore, these grains can act as room temperature, single-electron tunneling transistors. Also, pronounced quantum-size effects can occur at low temperatures.

This technology could potentially lead to single-electron devices smaller than those attainable through conventional semiconductor technology or even to highly integrated quantum computers.


  • Miniaturization
  • Quantum computers
  • Nanowire crystallization, etching and melting
  • Superconducting devices
  • Single-electron devices


Size - The ability to create metallic structures with such small dimensions can be used to improve numerous applications.