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Proceedings Paper

Enabling technologies for nanostructuring
Author(s): Hermann Gerlinger
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Paper Abstract

Galileo Galilei once said in the 17th century that "anyone who understands geometry can understand everything in this world." But he had never heard of molecules, atoms or even smaller components. These days we would imitate Galileo by saying "anyone who understands the processes inside atoms and molecules understands the world." This nano world has its own unique appeal: something that is invisible to the naked eye, yet has dimensions that the mind still requires images/comparisons to understand, is a source of tremendous fascination. Even if we are a long way from understanding these processes, we now know one thing for certain: these days, decisive technological progress is made in the world of the minuscule. Specific examples of this come from the areas of gene technology, materials research and electronics on a daily basis. As a result, nanotechnologies have become the focal point of research and development - not only in industry but also in politics. For example, in March 2004, the German Federal Government launched the German innovation initiative for nanotechnology under the slogan “Nanotechnology Conquers Markets”. According to a press release by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), euro 200 million in funding will be made available to four leading-edge innovations over the next four years. However, there is still some debate about how to define the term “nanotechnology”. While some see the essence of nanotechnology as the creation of a large entity from the minutest components by means of partly self-organizing processes, such as car paint consisting of nanoparticles, others simply regard the scale of particles or structures as the area of crucial significance. Scientists set a value of 100 nanometers as the "limit". A BMBF brochure argues: "It [nanotechnology] does not, therefore, represent a basic technology in the classical sense-one with clearly defined parameters. Instead, it describes a new interdisciplinary approach that will help us to make further progress in the fields of biotechnology, electronics, optics and new materials." There seems to be no end to the debate, with definitions continuing to clash and overlap. One thing is for sure, though, and that is the importance of nanotechnologies as a driving force for technological progress.

Paper Details

Date Published: 16 June 2005
PDF: 5 pages
Proc. SPIE 5835, 21st European Mask and Lithography Conference, (16 June 2005); doi: 10.1117/12.637268
Show Author Affiliations
Hermann Gerlinger, Carl Zeiss SMT AG (Germany)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 5835:
21st European Mask and Lithography Conference
Uwe F. W. Behringer, Editor(s)

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