Extremely Thin Writing Created With an Electro Pen

Posted on August 31, 2005

Brookhaven nanoscale image

Scientists at U.S. Department of Energy's Brookhaven National Laboratory have created a new kind of "writing" called Electro Pen Nanolithography (EPN). EPN allows scientists to "write" or create nanoscale patterns and features on surfaces. The image on the right was "written" with the Electro Pen. The lines forming the words are 150 nanometers wide and less than one nanometer high. They are made of organic molecules.

The tip of the Electro Pen carries an electric voltage which causes a film of organic molecules to oxidize. The researchers say that a single sweep of the pen will create an extremely thin line by transferring organic ink molecules from the tip to the oxidized regions. Each line is only one molecule thick. The researchers say they can add depth to the writing by writing over the existing patterns. They call these multilayered patterns three-dimensional nanoscale landscapes.

We aren't sure what implications nanolithography has for the writing world but it is very interesting to say the least. We don't think readers are going to want to read nanoscale novels when it is so much easier to read novels with full-sized words. The technology may eventually be used for biosensors according to Brookhaven.