From Science Daily:

Researchers have demonstrated a new process for rapidly fabricating complex three-dimensional nanostructures from a variety of materials, including metals. The new technique uses nanoelectrospray to provide a continuous supply of liquid precursor, which can include metal ions that are converted to high-purity metal by a focused electron beam.

The new process generates structures that would be impossible to make using gas-phase focused electron beam-induced deposition (FEBID) techniques, and allows fabrication at rates up to five orders of magnitude faster than the gas-phase technique. And because it uses standard liquid solvents, the new process could take advantage of a broad range of precursor materials. Multiple materials can also be deposited simultaneously.

“By allowing us to grow structures much faster with a broad range of precursors, this technique really opens up a whole new direction for making a hierarchy of complex three-dimensional structures with nanoscale resolution at the rate that is demanded for manufacturing scalability,” said Andrei Fedorov, a professor in the George Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology. “This could provide a fundamental shift in the way this field will go.”

The research was supported by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science and reported in the journal Nano Letters. Applications for the rapid electron beam writing of topologically complex 3D nanostructures could include new types of electrode topologies for batteries and fuel cells, vertically-stacked electronic memory, substrates for controlling cell differentiation and tiny electrochemical conversion devices.

In the established FEBID process, an electron beam…

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