Feedback-Controlled Lithography (FCL)

Feedback-controlled lithography (FCL) is a technique that allows researchers to use the Scanning Tunneling Miscroscope (STM) to precisely and selectively build structures at the nanoscale.

Developed by Mark Hersam (Northwestern University) and Joseph Lyding (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign), FCL is conducted by first coating a silicon sample with hydrogen (otherwise known as hydrogen passivated silicon). Using the STM, researchers can then image (or see) the surface of the silicon sample. When an electric voltage is applied to the STM tip from an outside source, the silicon-hydrogen bonds are broken. By controlling the position of the STM tip, hydrogen atoms are thus removed with atomic precision.

This technique allows fundamental studies of chemistry at the single molecule level and has opened the door for building prototype electronic devices and other structures at the nanoscale.

(Jour. Vac. Sci. Tech.A, 18, 1349, 2000).


Establishment of National Nanotech Initiative

Attempts to coordinate work on the nanoscale began in November 1996 when staff members from several federal agencies decided to meet regularly to discuss their plans and programs in nanoscale science and technology.

By 1998, this group (now called the Interagency Working Group on Nanotechnology or IWGN) was focused on defining the art of nanoscale science and technology and forecasting possible future developments. In August 1999, IWGN completed its first draft of a plan for an initiative in nanoscale science and technology. The plan went through an approval process involving the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) and the Office of Science and Technology Policy.

As a result of this work, the Clinton administration raised nanoscale science and technology to the level of a federal initiative by including major funding as part of its 2000 budget submission to Congress, and officially referred to it as the National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI).

(AIP Bulleting of Science Policy News)

The Future