More near-field imaging

10.22.2008 – Denser, more powerful computer chips possible with plasmonic lenses that “fly” above high-speed spinning disk

With this innovative setup, the engineers demonstrated scanning speeds of 4 to 12 meters per second.

“The speed and distances we’re talking about here are equivalent to a Boeing 747 flying 2 millimeters above the ground,” added Zhang. “Moreover, this distance is kept constant, even when the surface is not perfectly flat.”

[…]

Other alternatives have been developed that can achieve higher resolution than conventional photolithography and without the need for a lithography mask. However, those techniques – electron beam lithography, scanning probe lithography and focused ion-beam lithography – work at a snail’s pace compared to the flying plasmonic lens system, said the UC Berkeley researchers.

Idunno. Electron beams move at almost the speed of light.

We have yet to see how fast the plasmon stuff could actually make images on resists, but even more important is how accurately it can to the job. The big expense in lithograpy systems is registering everything so that each succeeding layer of 20-nanometer features is directly above the previous one, and doing that while something is spinning at hard-disk RPM seems difficult at best. Disk drives don’t achieve nearly that kind of registration, even with positioning tracks right there.

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