Current state of the art for arrays of scanning tunneling microscopes (STM) or atomic force microscopes (AFM) or nanostructured patterning:
IBM millipede at wikipedia uses an array of atomic force probes.
They are hoping for a 2007 commercial launch possibility with a
64X64 cantilever chips with a 7 mm x 7 mm data sled that uses 10 nanometer pits.
Nanoink has 55,000 AFMs in working array of dip pen of atomic force microscopes (more info is here)
They can perform high throughput nanopatterning The 2D nano PrintArray™ can cover a square centimeter with nanoscale features and pattern 10^7 m^2 per hour. Using established templating techniques, these advances enable screening for biological interactions at the level of a few molecules, or even single molecules.
55,000 images were produced with Nanoink array, which took only 30 minutes. Each identical nickel image is 12 micrometers wide — about twice the diameter of a red blood cell — and is made up of 8,773 dots, each 80 nanometers in diameter. So 17500 dots per element in the array in one hour. This is 6 actions per second for each AFM in the array.
1 million probe array has been built
Electron beams and Election beam induced depositioning
In 2005, electron beams had 2 nanometer focus
Electron beam induced deposition
1 nanometer focus has been achieved by electron beams An electron beam induced deposition system with 100 beams and the ability to deposit one nanometer sized dots is being created
Electron beams are used in the e-line fabrication system
The Memjet inkjet has higher dot volume for larger dots. (commercial release in 2008).
Each chip measures 20 millimeters across and contains 6,400 nozzles, with five color channels, the company said. A separate driver chip calculates 900 million picoliter-sized drops per second. For a standard A4 letter printer, the result is a total of 70,400 nozzles. The dots are about one micron by one micron in size.
2007 45 nanometer lithography, 65 nanometer is the common
2009 32 nanometer lithography
2011 22 nanometer lithography, the 32 nanometer would be common (4X smaller than 2007 systems)
2013 16 nanometer lithography
2015 16 nanometer common, 16 times smaller than 2007 systems.
A projected advance from 6 actions per second in 2007 to 2000 actions per second per AFM/STM in 2015. Several chips for 20 million AFM/STM arrays up to one billion microscope elements.
4 million nozzles. One hundredth of a picoliter drops.
Could advanced metamaterial based lithography bring some form lithography like fabrication down to 1 nanometer features ? Even for relatively lower volume production ? Near-nano graphene etching ?
Does this transition into some form of top-down molecular nanotechnology bootstrap ?
Brian Wang is a Futurist Thought Leader and a popular Science blogger with 1 million readers per month. His blog Nextbigfuture.com is ranked #1 Science News Blog. It covers many disruptive technology and trends including Space, Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, Medicine, Anti-aging Biotechnology, and Nanotechnology.
Known for identifying cutting edge technologies, he is currently a Co-Founder of a startup and fundraiser for high potential early-stage companies. He is the Head of Research for Allocations for deep technology investments and an Angel Investor at Space Angels.
A frequent speaker at corporations, he has been a TEDx speaker, a Singularity University speaker and guest at numerous interviews for radio and podcasts. He is open to public speaking and advising engagements.