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Rev Sci Instrum. 2014 Dec;85(12):121301. doi: 10.1063/1.4902536.

Invited Article: Autonomous assembly of atomically perfect nanostructures using a scanning tunneling microscope.

Author information

1
Center for Nanoscale Science and Technology, National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, Maryland 20899, USA.
2
Engineering Laboratory, National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, Maryland 20899, USA.
3
Physical Measurement Laboratory, National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, Maryland 20899, USA.

Abstract

A major goal of nanotechnology is to develop the capability to arrange matter at will by placing individual atoms at desired locations in a predetermined configuration to build a nanostructure with specific properties or function. The scanning tunneling microscope has demonstrated the ability to arrange the basic building blocks of matter, single atoms, in two-dimensional configurations. An array of various nanostructures has been assembled, which display the quantum mechanics of quantum confined geometries. The level of human interaction needed to physically locate the atom and bring it to the desired location limits this atom assembly technology. Here we report the use of autonomous atom assembly via path planning technology; this allows atomically perfect nanostructures to be assembled without the need for human intervention, resulting in precise constructions in shorter times. We demonstrate autonomous assembly by assembling various quantum confinement geometries using atoms and molecules and describe the benefits of this approach.

PMID:
25554264
DOI:
10.1063/1.4902536

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