Women in Nanoscience


Women in Nano Blog

Olga Ovchinnikova sandblasts her way to produce novel 2D materials

Posted on April 20, 2016 at 3:15 PM

The fabrication of 2D materials is a very hot research topic in the semiconductor industries. To continue the decades-long scaling of device performance with Moore’s Law, there is new progress from Olga Ovchinnikova at Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s (ORNL) Center for Nanophase Materials Sciences Division. 2D devices are attracting attention nowadays due to their promise of low power consumption, high efficiency and mechanical flexibility.

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Resist-based lithography is currently the preferred technique for nanofabrication. Instead, Ovchinnikova’s group used a helium ion microscope (HIM) that uses an ion beam of helium to introduce localized defects in the process of nanofabrication. This leads to clean and resist-free processing. But it can also be used to control the distribution of ferroelectric domains, enhance conductivity and grow nanostructures. "Our method opens pathways to direct-write and edit circuitry on 2D material without complicated current state-of-the-art multi-step lithographic processes," she said.

Ovchinnikova and her colleagues used this microscope as an atomic-scale “sandblaster” on a layered ferroelectric surface of a bulk copper indium thiophosphate to create a new 2D material which could potentially replace silicon in phones, photovoltaics, optoelectronics, flexible electronics and displays. She believes that 2D-based devices could reduce power consumption very significantly: "Imagine having a phone that you don't have to recharge but once a month.” Read more here.

Olga Ovchinnikova is a scientist at Oak Ridge National Laboratory where she works on local tuning of materials properties using ion beams and finding correlations between chemical composition and material functionality using multimodal imaging platforms.

Figure 1: Effect of helium ions on the mechanical and electrical properties of a layered ferroelectric. a) Disappearance domains in the exposed area – as the mound forms, yellow regions representing ferroelectricity gradually disappear, b) Mechanical properties – warmer colors indicate hard areas, cooler colors indicate softer areas, c) Conductivity enhancement- warmer colors show insulating area, cooler colors show more conductive areas. Picture credit: ORNL

- Written by Nakita Sengar, edited by Paulette Clancy

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