National Science Foundation Major Research Instrumentation: Development of an Electron-Beam based Instrument to Study Nanoscale Processes in Liquids


The instrument development effort seeks to design, construct, and validate an electron-beam based system that can both induce and study nanoscale chemical and physical processes in bulk liquids. In addition to performing electron-microscopy in liquids, the proposed instrument will enable electron-beam based fabrication using liquid reactants while allowing one to spectroscopically analyze the corresponding chemical reactions and fabricated nanostructures. Moreover, the system will enable the study of both nanoscale fluid transport and nanoscale functional materials in operational environments with the added capability to modify those environments using electron-beam induced processes.

The nanoscale fabrication capabilities are based on a novel technique in which a focused electron beam deposits or etches materials by inducing localized chemical reactions in liquids. Many of the enabled research efforts are only possible because of the high resolution and purity of these new, liquid-phase processes. The new instrument will also advance understanding in the wide ranging fields of nanoscale photonics (plasmonics and quantum dots), electronics (graphene and semiconductor nanostructures), magnetics (spin-based devices and patterned magnetic structures), fluidics (in situ electrokinetics), and energy storage (in situ studies of battery electrodes). In addition, it brings a new perspective and capability to radiation chemistry by providing a means to studying radiochemical reactions in nanoscale volumes and at solid-liquid interfaces.

The development of a new approach and a new instrument for studying nanoscale processes in liquids will accelerate the scientific and engineering community’s efforts to bring nanotechnology to bear on pressing societal problems. Specific research projects enabled by this instrument target medical diagnosis, environmental monitoring, energy production and storage, and materials and devices for information technology. The instrument promises new ways to prototype devices for use in these fields while enabling fundamental discoveries in the underlying disciplines of electrical, mechanical, chemical, materials, and manufacturing engineering, radiation chemistry, and condensed matter physics. The project also interfaces with a variety of educational and outreach efforts impacting students from high school through graduate school, and will contribute to a well trained workforce that is prepared to address highly interdisciplinary problems.

Research Team

Faculty: J. Todd Hastings (ECE), Vijay Singh (ECE), Y. T. Cheng (CME),Lance DeLong (Physics), Doug Strachan (Physics), Cindy Harnett (UofL ECE)

Staff: Chuck May, Brian Wajdyk

Post-doctoral Associate: Matthew Bresin

Graduate Students: Samaneh Esfandiarpur, Neha Nehru, Adham Noubani, Mansoor Sultan

Undergraduate Students: Alex Burkhart, Jacob Hempel

Senior Design Team: Brian Beeler, Ryan Bradley, Drake DeHoff, Jacob Ingram, Alexander Slade

Publications with Supporting Data

Journal Articles directly enabled by the project:

  • M. Bresin, A. Botman, S. J. Randolph, M. Straw, and J. T. Hastings, "Liquid Phase Electron-Beam-Induced Deposition on Bulk Substrates Using Environmental Scanning Electron Microscopy," Microscopy and Microanalysis, vol. 20, pp. 376-384, 2014.
  • M. Bresin, A. Chamberlain, E. U. Donev, C. B. Samantaray, G. S. Schardien, and J. T. Hastings, "Electron-Beam-Induced Deposition of Bimetallic Nanostructures from Bulk Liquids," Angew Chem Int Ed Engl, pp. 8004-8007, 2013.
  • C. A. Jarro, M. Bresin, and J. T. Hastings, "Control of the structure and density of silver nanoparticles obtained by laser-induced chemical deposition from liquids," Journal of Vacuum Science & Technology B, vol. 31, pp. -, 2013.
  • M. Bresin, B. R. Nadimpally, N. Nehru, V. P. Singh, and J. T. Hastings, "Site-specific growth of CdS nanostructures," Nanotechnology, vol. 24, Dec 2013.

Conference Papers directly enabled by the project:

  • M. Bresin and J. T. Hastings, "Focused Electron Beam Induced Processing with Liquid Reactants using In-situ Hydration and Direct Liquid Injection " to be presented at the 5th FEBIP Workshop, Frankfurt am Main, DE, July 2014.
  • M. Bresin and J. T. Hastings, "Etching of copper using liquid reactants and a focused electron beam," 58th International Conference on Electron, Ion, and Photon Beam Technology and Nanofabrication, Washington, DC, 2014.
  • E. U. Donev, C. B. Samantaray, M. Bresin, S. Leontsev, and J. T. Hastings, "Recent Advances in Liquid-Phase E-Beam Induced Processing: Silicon Nitride Etching and Palladium Deposition," Micro and Nano Engineering, London, UK, 2013.
  • M. Bresin, N. Nehru, and J. T. Hastings, "Liquid-phase electron-beam-induced-deposition on bulk substrates without liquid cells," 57th International Conference on Electron, Ion, and Photon Beam Technology and Nanofabrication, Nashville, TN, 2013.
  • M. Bresin, N. Nehru, and J. T. Hastings, "Focused electron-beam induced deposition of plasmonic nanostructures from aqueous solutions," in Proc. SPIE 8613, Advanced Fabrication Technologies for Micro/Nano Optics and Photonics, 2013, pp. 861306-861306-6.

Important background publications:

  • E. U. Donev and J. T. Hastings, "Electron-Beam-Induced Deposition of Platinum from a Liquid Precursor," Nano Letters, vol. 9, pp. 2715-2718, 200910.1021/nl9012216
  • E. Donev, N. Nehru, G. Schardein, J. Wright, A. Chamberlain, C. Samantaray, et al., "Recent Advances in Liquid-phase Electron-Beam Induced Deposition: Characterizing Growth Processes and Optical Properties," Microscopy and Microanalysis, vol. 17, pp. 438-439, 2011doi:10.1017/S1431927611003060<\li>
  • E. U. Donev and J. T. Hastings, "Liquid-precursor electron-beam-induced deposition of Pt nanostructures: dose, proximity, resolution," Nanotechnology, vol. 20, p. 505302, Dec 16 200910.1088/0957-4484/20/50/505302
  • G. Schardein, E. U. Donev, and J. T. Hastings, "Electron-beam-induced deposition of gold from aqueous solutions," Nanotechnology, vol. 22, p. 015301, Jan 7 2011doi:10.1088/0957-4484/22/1/015301
  • E. U. Donev, G. Schardein, J. C. Wright, and J. T. Hastings, "Substrate effects on the electron-beam-induced deposition of platinum from a liquid precursor," Nanoscale, vol. 3, pp. 2709-17, Jul 2011, doi:10.1039/c1nr10026b

Links to additional supporting data coming soon.

Process Database (under construction)

Liquid-phase Focused Electron Beam Induced Deposition (by material)

  • Chomium
  • Cobalt
  • Copper
  • Gold
  • Nickel
  • Paladium
  • Platinum
  • Silver
  • AuAg Alloy
  • AuPt Alloy
  • Cadmium Sulfide

Liquid-phase Focused Electron Beam Induced Etching (by material)

  • Copper
  • Silicon Nitride