Building a novel nanofabrication system using MEMS
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Micro-electromechanical systems (MEMS) are electrically controlled micro-machines which have been widely used in both industrial applications and scientific research. This technology allows us to use macro-machines to build micro-machines (MEMS) and then use micro-machines to fabricate even smaller structures, namely nano-structures. In this thesis, the concept of Fab on a Chip will be discussed where we construct a palette of MEMS-based micron scale tools including lithography tools, novel atomic deposition sources, atomic mass sensors, thermometers, heaters, shutters and interconnect technologies that allow us to precisely fabricate nanoscale structures and conduct in-situ measurements using these micron scale devices. Such MEMS devices form a novel microscopic nanofabrication system that can be integrated into a single silicon chip. Due to the small dimension of MEMS, fabrication specifications including heat generation, patterning resolution and film deposition precision outperform traditional fabrication in many ways. It will be shown that one gains many advantages by doing nano-lithography and physical vapor deposition at the micron scale. As an application, I will showcase the power of the technique by discussing how we use Fab on a Chip to conduct quench condensation of superconducting Pb thin films where we are able to gently place atoms upon a surface, creating a uniform, disordered amorphous film and precisely tune the superconducting properties. This shows how the new set of techniques for nanofabrication will open up an unexplored regime for the study of the physics of devices and structures with small numbers of atoms.