A team from Graz University of Technology succeeded in using the FEBID method to produce complex 3D-printed nano-components for the first time without additional support structures.
In the nanometer range, complex, free-standing 3D architectures are very difficult to produce in a single step due to the required precision. In the Christian Doppler Laboratory for Direct Write Fabrication of 3D Nano-Probes, scientists at Graz University of Technology are therefore devoting themselves to the fundamentals of 3D Nanoprinting to push its possibilities beyond current limitations.
Harald Plank (r.) and his team were able for the first time to produce complex 3D-printed nano-components without a additional support structures.
© Lunghammer – TU Graz
For that, the research group uses the technology Focused Electron Beam Induced Deposition (FEBID), which is already used successfully in the production of complex but often flat nanostructures.
More efficiency and more possibilities
The CD lab research team has advanced the technology in such a way, that even complex three-dimensional nanostructures can be produced in a highly controlled and predictable way. In addition to the production of new structures, the process also enables the modification of already finished micro and nano components. The individual, nanometer thin layers, which finally form the 3D architectures, adhere to virtually any material and surface morphology.
That saves time because FEBID does not require any pre- or post-treatment of the samples. On the other hand, it also enables fabrication on uneven or rough surfaces. "This type of 3D nanoprinting opens up completely new playgrounds for science and industry," says Harald Plank from the Institute of Electron Microscopy and Nanoanalysis at TU Graz and head of the CD lab.
With the new technology, future challenges can be mastered that are barely possible with alternative nanofabrication methods such as electron beam lithography. "With this method, it would also be possible to produce 3D nanostructures on a pencil tip in a single step, which is very difficult to do with alternative technologies," explains Plank.
How the new 3D nanoprinting technology works
The new process will be used in cooperation with industrial partners GETec Microscopy (Vienna) and Anton Paar GmbH (Graz) in the field of atomic force microscopy for the production of functional nano-probes with apex radii of less than ten nanometers.
"The printing process takes place in the vacuum chamber of electron microscopes. The functional gases are introduced with a fine capillary in close proximity to the sample. The gaseous molecules then adsorb on the surface and are chemically broken down and immobilised by the focused electron beam – they remain in place through interaction with the electrons," explains Plank. "You can imagine 3D nanoprinting like a ballpoint pen: The electron beam acts like a ballpoint pen refill and the gas is the ink."
Plank and his team were inspired by Lego bricks for printing inclined structures: "To build a tilted architecture using Lego, the next higher layer of bricks must always be moved sideward. This is exactly what we have transferred to 3D nanoprinting: Before applying the next layer, we shift the electron beam and literally print diagonally upwards."
During the last 20 months, the CD lab was able to deliver the first proof-of-principle. In more detail, FEBID was successfully used for the production of electrically conductive nanoprobes, whose performance is significantly higher than that of alternative, commercially available products. Plank and his team are satisfied with the result: "Small series production will start in Vienna in the coming months and open up new possibilities for the industrial partner GETec Microscopy.”
To ensure that the new process does not remain a niche technology, the researchers in the CD lab are currently developing a new software for FEBID based 3D Nanoprinting, which will allow fabrication of complex nanostructures even without broad prior knowledge.
For that, Plank and his research group have joined forces with Oak Ridge National Laboratories (USA) and the Institute of Physics at the Goethe University Frankfurt (GER), which together with Graz University of Technology are among the world's leading research institutions in this field. This project also focuses on extending the process to 3D surfaces and multi-material structures, which further increases the design flexibility and thus the relevance of this technology in research and development.
The CD Laboratory for direct fabrication of 3D nanoprobes is anchored in the Field of Expertise "Advanced Materials Science", one of five strategic focal areas of Graz University of Technology.
Ass.Prof. Priv.-Doz. Dipl.-Ing. Dr.techn.
TU Graz | Institute of Electron Microscopy and Nanoanalysis
Tel.: +43 316 873 8821
https://www.tugraz.at/institutes/felmi/cd-laboratory/ (Institute of Electron Microscopy and Nanoanalysis at TU Graz)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eUje93nrE4c&feature=youtu.be (production of 3D-printed nano-components using the FEBID method)
https://www.tugraz.at/en/tu-graz/services/news-stories/media-service/singleview/... release with further images)
Mag. Christoph Pelzl, MSc | Technische Universität Graz
Supporting structures of wind turbines contribute to wind farm blockage effect
13.12.2019 | American Institute of Physics
Chinese team makes nanoscopy breakthrough
13.12.2019 | Chinese Academy of Sciences Headquarters
Vaccinia viruses serve as a vaccine against human smallpox and as the basis of new cancer therapies. Two studies now provide fascinating insights into their unusual propagation strategy at the atomic level.
For viruses to multiply, they usually need the support of the cells they infect. In many cases, only in their host’s nucleus can they find the machines,...
More than one hundred and fifty years have passed since the publication of James Clerk Maxwell's "A Dynamical Theory of the Electromagnetic Field" (1865). What would our lives be without this publication?
It is difficult to imagine, as this treatise revolutionized our fundamental understanding of electric fields, magnetic fields, and light. The twenty original...
In a joint experimental and theoretical work performed at the Heidelberg Max Planck Institute for Nuclear Physics, an international team of physicists detected for the first time an orbital crossing in the highly charged ion Pr⁹⁺. Optical spectra were recorded employing an electron beam ion trap and analysed with the aid of atomic structure calculations. A proposed nHz-wide transition has been identified and its energy was determined with high precision. Theory predicts a very high sensitivity to new physics and extremely low susceptibility to external perturbations for this “clock line” making it a unique candidate for proposed precision studies.
Laser spectroscopy of neutral atoms and singly charged ions has reached astonishing precision by merit of a chain of technological advances during the past...
The ability to investigate the dynamics of single particle at the nano-scale and femtosecond level remained an unfathomed dream for years. It was not until the dawn of the 21st century that nanotechnology and femtoscience gradually merged together and the first ultrafast microscopy of individual quantum dots (QDs) and molecules was accomplished.
Ultrafast microscopy studies entirely rely on detecting nanoparticles or single molecules with luminescence techniques, which require efficient emitters to...
Graphene, a two-dimensional structure made of carbon, is a material with excellent mechanical, electronic and optical properties. However, it did not seem suitable for magnetic applications. Together with international partners, Empa researchers have now succeeded in synthesizing a unique nanographene predicted in the 1970s, which conclusively demonstrates that carbon in very specific forms has magnetic properties that could permit future spintronic applications. The results have just been published in the renowned journal Nature Nanotechnology.
Depending on the shape and orientation of their edges, graphene nanostructures (also known as nanographenes) can have very different properties – for example,...
03.12.2019 | Event News
15.11.2019 | Event News
15.11.2019 | Event News
13.12.2019 | Physics and Astronomy
13.12.2019 | Physics and Astronomy
13.12.2019 | Materials Sciences