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Esprit Project 20227 - MICROGUN
Low-energy coherent electron microguns: Organic microsystems and nanostructures

Keywords: field emission, nanotips, electron-gun, microlens, coherent e-beams


This project deals with the applications of coherent low-energy electron beams produced by well-characterised nanosources. Integrating the atom-sized sources with appropriate microlens configurations results in a low-energy microgun, which opens new possibilities in electron nanolithography. Integrating this microgun into an appropriate detection environment gives rise to a compact low-energy electron microscope which can allow non-damaging observations of organic nanostructures.

The global objectives and anticipated results of the project are:
* To develop a low-energy microgun by using field emission nanotips as atom-size electron sources. The nanotips are to be integrated into appropriate microlens and nanodisplacement systems.
To develop low-energy coherent electron microscopy. Scanning, detection and image processing will be combined with either the microgun or a lensless nanosource structure. Such microscopes will be analysis tools at nanometric scale of organic, synthetic or biological objects.
* To investigate the connections and conductivity of molecular wires that carry the signals between sub-micron or nanometer units. The visualisation and characterisation of the conductivity of molecular nanowires is a key point for future technology. This will be studied with field emission, high-resolution low-energy electron microscopies and local probe techniques, with the goal of direct measurements of the conductivity of molecular wires.
* To explicit the relation between the low-energy e-beam spot size and the minimum dimensions of the obtained lithographic features. Nanometer focused low-energy electron beam lithography should decrease the size of irradiated areas due to the creation of secondary electron cascades inside the resin and due to damage creation in insulating films. This approach will also take advantage also of the coherence of the e-beam emitted from nanotips. Local probe optical source energy deposition will be also investigated.

The approach taken by the consortium to reach the above objectives is structured around the integration of the coherent low-energy electron beam emitted from nanotips within several environments. The consortium also takes full advantage of all the different local probe techniques, like STM, AFM and SNOM, and various theoretical tools including full quantum calculations and computer simulations.

The project will open new technological opportunities by developing controlled, well-focused coherent low-energy electron-beam microguns and associated applications. That will have an impact on the industrialisation of a new family of high-resolution low-energy electron microscopes, with obvious advantages over conventional electron microscopy for organic materials, and could also stimulate the industrial development of a next generation of e-beam lithography equipment based on parallel processing microguns.

Contact Point
Prof. Vu Thien Binh
CNRS - Université Claude Bernard Lyon 1
Laboratoire d'Emission Electronique
Departement de Physique des Matériaux - URA-CNRS
43, Bd du 11 Novembre 1918
F - 69622, Villeurbanne Cedex

e-mail: (E-mail removed)

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