ISO 9001 & UKAS Registered, Electron Beam Services in the United Kingdom ISO 9001 & UKAS Registered, Electron Beam Services in the United Kingdom

A research team for the University of Pittsburgh have invented a new way to create programmable quantum materials by using an electron beam to “sketch” patterns of electrons together.

This enables tiny two-dimensional electronic materials to be created that can be used for quantum simulation and quantum transport.

There are many industries in which electron beam services are used, from aerospace electron beam welding to lithography, and it was the latter technology that was used by the Department of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Pittsburgh.

Electron-beam lithography is where a focused beam is used to draw custom shapes onto an electron-sensitive resist film.

This is used to create exceptionally tiny structures only nanometres in size, by first exposing a resist using a programmed electron beam then immersing the resist into a solvent for developing.

If the voltage of an electron beam is lowered to just a few hundred volts and it is used not on a resist but a programmable quantum material such as lanthanum aluminate/strontium titanate (LAO/STO), quantum devices and artificial lattices can be sketched with exceptionally high precision.

The team at Pittsburgh claim that this method of creating quantum structures is 10,000 times faster than the previously used method of using an atomic force microscope, and is much easier to reprogram.

Graduate student Dengyu Yang, who developed the technique described as like using a pen to sketch onto a canvas, highlighting the ease in which complex structures can be designed and tested.