Princeton University scientists found a way to eliminate small air bubbles that form when liquid droplets are moulded into intricate circuits. This solves one of the important obstacles to the mass production of nano-scale circuits:
Led by Stephen Chou, the Joseph C. Elgin professor of engineering at Princeton, the team worked to troubleshoot one form of nano-imprint lithography, a method invented by Chou in the 1990s.
Nano-imprint uses a nanometre-scale mould to pattern computer chips and other nanostructures, and is in marked contrast to conventional methods that use beams of light, electrons or ions to carve designs onto devices.
The new technique allows for the creation of circuits and devices with features that are not much longer than a billionth of a metre, more than 10 times smaller than is possible in today's mass-produced chips, yet more than 10 times cheaper.