ZyVex donation enhances Lyding's research

7/31/2017 Victoria Halewicz, ECE ILLINOIS

The new 20-bit ZyVector scanning tunneling microscope (STM) control system is housed at Beckman Institute.

Written by Victoria Halewicz, ECE ILLINOIS

Professor Joseph W Lyding is grateful to Zyvex Labs for their donation of the 20-bit ZyVector scanning tunneling microscope (STM) control system to his Nanoelectronics and Nanomaterials Group. Zyvex Labs designs atomically precise manufacturing technology for microscopic accuracy when building products.

“I can’t tell you how much I appreciate what you’ve given us, and what it entails to the possibilities of what can be done compared to what we’ve been working with,” said Lyding at a gathering last week to mark the donation. Lyding, Robert E. MacClinchie Professor in Electrical and Computer Engineering, conducts research at the Beckman Institue.

The new 20-bit ZyVector scanning tunneling microscope (STM) control system
The new 20-bit ZyVector scanning tunneling microscope (STM) control system
The ZyVector assists in finding optimal voltage and current conditions to tune the effective lithography linewidth from a single atom to greater than 10 nanometers. It is also optimized for operation on passivated surfaces such as Si (100)-H. Write times can be optimized by applying a vector-based approach to the lithography with minimized path lengths and switching operations. Multiple pattern input modes are available including script-based patterns, CAD, or simple bitmap.

Prof. Lyding’s relationship with Zyvex preceeds this donation. One of Lyding’s former post-doctoral collaborators, Josh Ballard, is the director of Atomically Precise Manufacturing at Zyvex Labs. In 2008, Ballard, formerly a Beckman Postdoctoral Fellow, joined Zyvex Labs for the tip-based nanomanufacturing program.

Prof. Lyding also has a long history of interaction with Zyvex President John Randall, starting while Dr. Randall worked at Texas Instruments. “That system over there," Lyding said, gesturing toward equipment in his lab, "and the one in the next room, which is scanning some molecules right now, were funded by Texas Instruments through John Randall’s effort. He’s enabled a lot of research that we’ve published over the years.”

Around ten PhD students have received their degrees working with this very equipment. With the new ZyVector, a host of possibilities emerge for Lyding’s lab.

“The ZyVector is ideally suited to control our scanning tunneling microscopes,” Lyding said. “It is optimized for atomic precision patterning of hydrogen passivated silicon, using a process originally developed in our laboratory at Beckman. The ZyVector will add new capability to our research with its state-of-the-art control system and its ability to ‘lock-in’ to the atomic lattice,” said Lyding to the Beckman Institute. 

For more information, read the Beckman Institute’s article.

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This story was published July 31, 2017.