Thursday, February 28, 2008

US Patent 7335882 - Electron beam nanofabrication

Manipulation of individual atoms and molecules has been achieved via scanning tunneling and atomic force microscopy in the 1980's and similar manipulation has been performed with lasers in so-called "optical tweezers". This patent from the University of Texas suggests yet another method and includes some very broad claims to a transmission electron microscope for molecular manipulation. Claim 1 reads:

1. A method of nanofabrication comprising the steps of: identifying one or more target molecules for manipulation with an electron beam; and targeting the one or more target molecules with the electron beam, wherein the electron beam causes an event at the target molecule.

However, some prior art may have been overlooked during the examination such as an article published in 1996 entitled "Structural Modification of Single-Layered Carbon Nanotubes with an Electron Beam" by IBM Research.