Printer Friendly

BELL LABS, HARVARD SCIENTISTS GIVE ATOMS A LIGHT TOUCH

 MURRAY HILL, N.J., March 19 /PRNewswire/ -- A team of scientists from AT&T Bell Laboratories and Harvard University is giving atoms a light touch, using light beams to position individual atoms. They hope the technique will someday allow them to make the world's tiniest integrated circuits.
 "It's a very gentle process," says Gregory Timp, a researcher in the Microstructure Physics Research Department at Bell Labs. "We use the lightest possible touch, deflecting atoms with the force exerted by light as we deposit the atoms onto a substrate."
 The basic physics behind the idea hinges on the recognition that a particle of light, or photon, carries momentum. If an atom is moving slowly enough, a collision with a photon can be used to deflect it. A large number of photons -- a standing wave -- can act like a lens to focus atoms.
 The novel technique raises the possibility of developing a fundamentally new type of lithography with various potential applications, including making microchips.
 In microelectronics, lithography is a printing technique that involves layering many patterns of electrically active devices, such as transistors and resistors, and the circuit patterns to interconnect them, onto semiconductor material to make electronic chips for use in computers, telecommunications equipment and other products.
 Technological progress is measured by the number and size of components on a chip. More components mean more circuit functions. Smaller components and shorter distances between them mean faster, more reliable circuits.
 Progress in lithography means ever-finer lines and patterns. In the past several decades, minimum line widths have gone from 25 microns, or millionths of a meter, down to one-half micron -- one fourth the diameter of a human hair.
 "It has long been recognized that we'll run into trouble below a tenth of a micron," said Timp. "In devices that small, the position of every atom matters. We're taking the first, small steps in this direction. It's a very interesting way of doing things."
 "This experimental work is significant because it changes the way people think about how to do submicron lithography," said Horst Stormer, director of the Physical Research Laboratory at Bell Labs.
 "This is a fundamentally new technique, a new way to address the problem," he said. "We're a long way from developing and manufacturing products with it, but it's exciting research."
 Timp will deliver a paper, "Using Light as a Lens for Atom Optics," at the Condensed Matter Physics Meeting of the American Physical Society next week (March 22-26) in Seattle, Wash. His co-authors are Robert E. Behringer of the Optoelectronics Research Department at Bell Labs and Karl Berggren and Mara Prentiss of the Physics Department, Harvard.
 Others working with Timp on this research project are Donald M. Tennant, of Bell Labs Optoelectronics Research Department, and John E. Cunningham of Bell Labs Advanced Photonics Research Department.
 Among the more than 5,000 technical papers to be presented at the meeting will be 143 by Bell Labs scientists. Especially notable among them are:
 -- "Semiconductor Microdisk Lasers," by Richard L. Slusher, head of the Optical Physics Research Department.
 -- "Near-Field Magneto-Optics and High-Density Data Storage," by Jay Trautman, of the Materials Chemistry Research Department.
 -- "Optical Properties of Size-Selected Silicon Clusters," by Mary Mandich, also of the Materials Chemistry Research Department.
 -0- 3/19/93
 /CONTACT: Donna Cunningham of AT&T Bell Laboratories, 802-482-3748, or home, 802-482-2933; or Peter Costa of Harvard University, 617-495-1585/


CO: AT&T Bell Laboratories; Harvard University ST: New Jersey IN: SU:

WB-PS -- NY008 -- 7881 03/19/93 12:00 EST
COPYRIGHT 1993 PR Newswire Association LLC
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1993 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Mar 19, 1993
Words:581
Previous Article:OLYMPIC FINANCIAL LTD. ANNOUNCES PRICING OF FIRST PUBLIC ISSUE OF ASSET-BACKED SECURITIES
Next Article:ALEXION NAMES NIH SENIOR INVESTIGATOR TO DIRECTOR OF IMMUNOBIOLOGY POST
Topics:


Related Articles
Buckyballs' supercool spring surprise.
Buckyball superconductors get warmer.
AT&T BELL LABORATORIES SCIENTISTS MAKE AND OPERATE WORLD'S SMALLEST SEMICONDUCTOR LASER
Light lens precisely guides atom beams.
AT&T BELL LABORATORIES ANNOUNCES CONTRACT WITH GENERAL PHYSICS INSTITUTE
Creating crystals to study quantum effects.
Physicists spot element 111.
Light stands still in atom clouds.
Lucent Technologies' Bell Labs to Host Statistical Computing Workshop; Event to Honor Bell Labs' John Chambers, Inventor of a Key Statistical...
Bell Labs Scientist Named 'Most Promising Young Researcher' by The Electrochemical Society and the North American Molecular Beam Epitaxy Board.

Terms of use | Copyright © 2016 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters