UCI awarded grant to establish nanolithography facility

The University of California, Irvine, is using a $360,000 grant from the US National Science Foundation to establish an advanced lithography research facility.

With a $360,000 grant from the US National Science Foundation, the University of California, Irvine, will establish an advanced lithography research facility in The Henry Samueli School of Engineering to aid nanotechnology work undertaken by its researchers.

The ultra-high resolution electron beam lithography system will allow UCI researchers to design and process novel materials the size of individual atoms and molecules.

These materials will eventually be used for the development of molecular electronics, micro-electro-mechanical systems and biomedical devices, such as a thumbnail-sized ‘lab on a chip.’

‘This facility is a major advance in UCI’s research capacity in the nanotechnology field, and it will allow us to move into whole new areas of work,’ said Peter Burke, assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering and lead researcher on the grant.

Nanolithography is said to employ an electron beam, which can fabricate and write patterns on materials at the scale of 20 nanometers. For example, electron beam lithography can be used to make electrical circuits out of wires and tubes made from chains of molecules.

These circuits are being proposed for the development of many molecular-sized technologies, such as biosensor devices that can analyse or mediate the function of systems within the human body.

The ultra-high resolution electron beam lithography system will become part of the Samueli School’s Integrated Nanosystems Research Facility, directed by G.P. Li, professor of electrical and computer engineering.

The total cost of the lithography project is approximately $769,000, which includes funds from the California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology (Cal-(IT)).