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Double-laser approach makes one thin line

Erasing and stenciling offers new approach for nanolithography

Michelangelo couldn’t have chiseled David’s features with the edge of a backhoe. But just such a challenge faces scientists working in the infinitesimally small world of nanolithography, the ultratiny writing used to make computer chips, solar cells and other devices. Now three reports, published online April 9 in Science, introduce new methods to erase and stencil patterns, putting a finer point on the tools used to sculpt and write in the incredibly shrinking nanoworld.

The research “could spawn all kinds of interesting ideas and new approaches,” comments Greg Wallraff of the IBM Almaden Research Center in San Jose, Calif. “This is really interesting science.”

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